Thursday, December 4, 2008

Duel in the Desert: Part 2

With the Big Game a couple days away it's time to get motivated. As is typical with this contest there is a lot on the line.

An Arizona win can move them up in the battle for Bowl Position.
An Arizona win can also stop ASU from reaching a bowl game for the 5th consecutive year (which would be a school record).
An ASU win would put a bright spot on the season for the Devils after coming in ranked in the top 25 before dropping 6 straight.
An ASU win would also make the Devils Bowl Eligible and they might even possibly get a better bowl bid than the Cats.

Of course the most important thing on the line is bragging rights for the next 364 days.

In honor of the late Sun Devils sportswriter Bob Moran, I bring you an updated version of his original conversation between Sparky and Wilbur leading up to the clash.

"Hello Sparky, I'm glad you could stop by."

"I felt it was only right to visit you in Tucson since last time we met you came up to Tempe." Wilbur says as Sparky enters the patio at Frog n' Firkin on University Blvd. in Tucson.

Wilbur gestured at the empty seat next to him, "I took the liberty of ordering some appetizers and a pitcher of Tempe's own Kiltlifter to make you feel right at home."

"Good choice, alcohol always helps wash away the memory of bad meetings. Is it 3 in a row we've taken from the Cats. I'm always so bad with numbers." Sparky quipped.

"I believe it has been 3 in a row, but that was just a dent into the cushion we had. 44-36 with one tie if I'm not mistaken. But then again, look who I'm asking about numbers." Wilbur rebutted. "

"I can't believe we're back down here, it seems like yesterday when we ended Arizona's bowl hopes right down here in Tucson. Wait, that was last year that we ended Arizona's hopes and it was in Tempe.....It was two years ago we ended the Wildcat hopes in Tucson, where does the time go?" Sparky said with a small grin of satisfaction.

"Well, that's neither here nor there, Arizona's got a pretty good offense this year. Freshman Keola Antolin has done remarkably well. To think we were disappointed when some little brat named Bass de-committed from U of A. And now here we have Antolin with over 500 and 10 TDs yards and Grigsby averaging 5.5 per carry. We lucked out on that one."

Sparky looked surprised, "We actually wound up getting Ryan Bass to carry the ball a few times this year, 4.6 per carry."

"I thought you weren't much of a numbers guy."Wilbur returned, "Taking nothing away from Bass but the Sun Devil running game hasn't been that impressive. 7 total rushing touchdowns this year? I'm pretty sure our True Freshman backup QB and 3rd string Running Back actually combined for 7. Heck our other two backs are both in the double digits, and Antolin didn't even have a a carry against New Mexico or UCLA."

"Speaking of New Mexico, I forgot to call you, that must have been a tough break, dropping one to New Mexico...again." Sparky returned.

"That's for sure, rough weekend. But really when it all comes down to it we were on the road, our guys were a little over confident after putting up 111 points over the first two games, and we lost by 8. On the plus side our guys bounced back and won a couple games, didn't ASU drop a game to the MWC that same weekend?" Wilbur coyly responded.

"We lost a close one that week to UNLV, who I might add beat the same New Mexico team that defeated you." Sparky announced, clearly aggravated.

"Well that's all in the past anyway, and you can't really compare who beat who in that context without sounding moronic. Who do you guys have on your list of coaching candidates?" Wilbur asked in an attempt to change the subject.

"I'm sorry, I'm confused. I could have sworn it was Stoops who has been on the Hot Seat the last couple of years"

"Well, after getting the Cats to Bowl Eligible and cleaning up the mess that Mackovick left behind after destroying one of the top programs in the 90s, his seat has cooled off. But you didn't answer my question about Erickson."

"Well, I'm still a bit confused. ASU is not typically the program that gives up on a coach after one down season. I think Dennis will be in Tempe for the long haul."

"Hmmm. That's interesting. I wonder if the guys at Idaho, Wyoming, Washington State, Oregon State, and Idaho, again, thought the same thing. Oh well, I'm sure I'm just letting my imagination wonder it's not like there have been 3 NFL coaches fired during the season as well as countless other college positions opening up. I'm sure that there won't be available job opportunities galore in the coming months. Erickson will probably stay in Tempe. After all, he's only been there 2 seasons. He's only left after 1 or 2 years 4 times. You're probably right."

"Good point, but Erickson has promised to bring winning back to the Valley." Sparky responded.

"I'm sure his word is as strong as the Dennis Dome practice facility he got ASU to build." Wilbur shot back, well it's getting late and that pitcher is empty. I suppose it's time for you to head back to the hotel and wait for Saturday night."

Sparky got up and reached into his wallet but Wilbur stopped him, "Sparky, your money is no good here."

"Well thanks Wilbur I appreciate it." Sparky kindly responded.

"No, Sparky, what I meant is your money is no good here, don't you have a couple bucks or a credit card. They don't take Sun Dollars in Tucson."