Bill Slane Photo by Jeff Vinton

Published on October 23rd, 2013 | by Bill Slane

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Remaining games will determine the Sun Devils’ fate

The Sun Devils will spend most of the next thirty days away from Sun Devil Stadium as they go on a two-game road trip. With the Pac-12 schedule in full swing, the next games against Washington State and Utah are not only important games in terms of standings, they are also difficult games to win for the Sun Devils. No matter how this season shakes out, looking back it will be this next set of games, and not the murderer’s row to start out, that defined where the Sun Devils went.

The upcoming road trip for the Sun Devils starts with a trip to Pullman, Washington on Halloween night to face off with the Cougars. The last trip ASU made the trip to Pullman is not something fans like to remember. A game that was literally muddied by rain and snow ended in a 37-27 Cougar victory after Washington State scored 14 answered points late in the game to pull ahead.

Going into Pullman on a Thursday night is not going to be an easy win for the Sun Devils. The student section will likely be loud as Washington State President Elson Floyd announced in May that there would be no afternoon classes the day of the game  in anticipation for the Halloween matchup.  It’s not an environment that ASU has played well in historically, although the weather forecast as of now does not call for rain or snow.

After the Pullman trip, ASU heads to Salt Lake to play the Utah Utes who previously beat the Stanford Cardinal in their last home game. This game certainly looks much more difficult than thought before the season began. The Utes are playing better than most thought and Rice-Eccles Stadium can also be very hostile territory.

It’s not just the upcoming road games however; every game that is left in the regular season is critical for the Sun Devils. At the moment, the team controls their own destiny. Winning out would put them in the position they have wanted to be in since the very beginning, in the Pac-12 championship game. At the very least they have to continue winning at home.

Coach Graham and his team have instilled in Sun Devil fans a new desire to make Sun Devil Stadium a place that no one wants to come to and play. Remaining undefeated at home this season is a must for ASU with two games left at Sun Devil Stadium left (Oregon State and Arizona).

These remaining games are, without a doubt, more important than any of the games to start the season. The game in Texas against Notre Dame was the most hyped game for the Sun Devils in recent memory but the magnitude of that game pales in comparison to any one of the remaining games. With five games left in the season, it appears that the Sun Devils have a very legitimate chance to have their first 10-win season since 2007. That season ASU was the co-champion in the Pac-10 but missed the Rose Bowl instead playing in the Holiday Bowl.

The Sun Devils hope that a different fate waits for them at the end of the 2013 season, but to achieve that they’ll have to get through the second half of their schedule. With all remaining games being in the conference, three of them in the division, it is crucial the Sun Devils remain focused on this, the most important part of their season.

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