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Arizona State Sun Devils

Sun Devils looking to jump off the treadmill

Arizona State running back Marion Grice (1) gains a first down during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

ASU's win against Washington was a significant step; they were basically playing themselves. Or at least, a mirror image of themselves.

Both teams had established they were not elite (Washington lost to Stanford and Oregon, ASU to Notre Dame and Stanford), yet both wanted to prove they were very good, that they were the next notch right below elite. The winner could claim that prize while the loser seemed destined to spend another year on the 7-6 or 8-5 treadmill.

That's partly why UW coach Steve Sarkisian called it their most important game and insisted that was not typical coach cliché.

The Devils' resounding win maintained hope that this can still be a very good, borderline great season for ASU.

Now comes the tricky part.

Winning on the road is one of the toughest things to do in college football. For ASU, the next phase of their test is about to commence.

Since 2008, this program has tallied zero conference wins outside the state of Arizona in the second half of the season. None. Other than a pair of wins against Arizona and the bowl victory against Navy last year, there are no road victories to speak of in the second half of the season since beating Washington in November of 2008.

That's not all on Todd Graham. Or Dennis Erickson. It's simply a reflection of how badly the Devils have struggled to finish off promising starts the last several years, in particular when those finishes call for a significant road win or two.

In this case, they might need three, as three of their next four are on the road (at Washington St., at Utah, home vs. Oregon State, at UCLA). If they can find a way to do what they have not lately, this will be a special season for ASU. If not, it's back to the old treadmill.

About the Author

School: Got my degree from NAU. Spent a year at U of A and a summer at ASU. I root for no one/everyone.
When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: August of 1998
Favorite sports memory: co-hosting the post game show for Game 7 of the 2001 World Series until five in the morning with Brad Cesmat and Craig Grialou. Close second: on the field at the end of ASU 19 Nebraska 0.
Favorite all-time athlete: Randy Johnson. No one in any other sport was better.
Favorite sports movies: Sports: Field of Dreams, The Natural, Moneyball. Non-Sports: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Silence of the Lambs


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