October 26, 2007

Cal Preview

When Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love announced the firing of Dirk Koetter at the conclusion of the 2006 season, she said Koetter "put us on a wonderful stage, but we are looking for a higher platform." The subsequent hiring of Dennis Erickson has quickly brought the program to that platform, with ASU 7-0 (4-0 in the Pac-10) and 4th in the most recent BCS Rankings as it prepares to host Cal on Saturday at 7 p.m. in front of what will be a sold out Homecoming Crowd at Sun Devils Stadium.

Even though Cal (5-2; 2-2) has lost its last two games and significantly slipped in the polls, from No. 2 to No. 21 in the BCS Rankings, there hasn't been a Sun Devil game this important played in Tempe since 1996, when the team went undefeated in the regular season and reached the Rose Bowl.

While the Sun Devils are undefeated, including wins against an Oregon State team that beat then No. 2 Cal, and against Stanford, which beat then No. 2 USC, and against Colorado, which beat then No. 3 Oklahoma, there is a perception Erickson's squad still has much to prove. And that's probably true.

The combined record of ASU's opponents is 20-31, including 4-13 in Pac-10 play. Only one team, Oregon State at 4-3, has a winning record. Beginning on Saturday, the Sun Devils have a four-game stretch against the top-tier conference foes (Cal, Oregon, UCLA and USC) which have a combined 22-6 record.

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