2010 CFBZ Prediction: 9th Place in Pac-10
2010 Actual Finish: Tied for 5th Place in the Pac-10 (6-6, 4-5)
Arizona State posted a 6-6 record for the 2010/2011 season which included 3 losses to teams that finished in the Top 10 of the regular season polls (Oregon, Stanford and Wisconsin). Arizona State finished off the year by beat rival Arizona 30-29 in a two overtime affair. But how do the Arizona State fans feel about the season? Are they looking for a quicker turnaround under Dennis Erickson? We caught up with Christopher Adams of The Sun Devils Football to find out his thoughts on the 2010/2011 season and get a quick glimpse into the 2011/2012 season.
In your Pre-Season Preview for us you said you thought a successful season for ASU would be to finish with 6 maybe 7 wins. Now that the season is over and the team has gone 6-6 how do you feel?
Simply said, Arizona State was probably the best 6-6 team in the country. With what ended up being one of the toughest strength of schedules in the country (facing three top-10 opponents), the Sun Devils fared very well. Of those three top-10 opponents of Oregon, Stanford, and Wisconsin, they lost by a combined 16 points and held their opponents to offensive season lows. Overall, the 6-6 record is an obvious improvement upon the previous 5-7 and 4-8 seasons, but the improvement is there and Arizona State is now considered the front-runner to take the Pac-12 South next season.
What is the feeling out in Arizona on Dennis Erickson? Is he on the hot seat?
At the beginning of the season, Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love stated that Dennis Erickson will be their coach in 2011, and she is holding true to that. I think his season finale win over rival Arizona and the close games against top-10 opponents calmed down critics and fans alike. To answer the question, no, he is not on the hot seat.
What was your favorite moment of the season?
My favorite moment hands down was the victory over the Arizona Wildcats down in hostile territory. You just can't beat a double overtime, nail-biter, rivalry game.
For those of us who didn't get a chance to watch ASU play this year, who are some of the guys who stepped up and who will be the major players next season?
Players that stand out are RBs Deantre Lewis and Cameron Marshall. Marshall saw limited time last season while he backed up the now Green Bay Packer Dimitri Nance, and came out of the gates running, literally. Lewis, a true undersized freshman, surprised everyone this year with his ability to break through against some of the nation's best defenses. Another player to watch is junior quarterback Brock Osweiler, who proved himself in the last two games of the season while starting QB Steven Threet sat out with a concussion. The quarterback race will once again be extremely competitive in the off-season.
What area(s) do the Sun Devils need to improve on the most this off-season?
Mental mistakes plagued this Sun Devils team in 2010, ultimately costing them all three games against the top-10 opponents. If the Devils can get back to the simplicities of football without trying too hard to make big plays, they will be BCS contenders in 2011.