ASU Football: Reality Check Time, Sun Devils Fans

TEMPE AZ - SEPTEMBER 04: Runningback Cameron Marshall #26 of the Arizona State Sun Devils rushes the ball for a 50 yard touchdown against the Portland State Vikings during the first quarter of the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on September 4 2010 in Tempe Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Sun Devils community has been abuzz this week, after Stewart Mandel at SI.com anointed us as a sleeper pick to win the BCS Championship. It's a great honor to be thought of in such a light, but I'm only going to say this once: lets slow down, ASU fans.

Our team has a ton of potential. Senior-laden and battlefield-proven, these Sun Devils might very well be ready to earn a solid bowl berth in 2011. But the BCS Championship Game?

ASU went 4-6 in 2010 against BCS-conference competition. While competitive, the Sun Devils weren't able to get over the hump that held them down.

We all know how close the team was to beating Wisconsin, Stanford and Oregon. Close isn't going to cut it in 2011.

While optimism is the trait of any offseason discussion, we can't lose sight of reality: the Sun Devils haven't played in a bowl since the 2007 season, and I think we should focus our minds on the game scheduled for September 3, 2011 instead of the game scheduled in January 2012.

Remember what happened when we got ahead of ourselves in 2007? 8-0, ranked 4th overall in the BCS polls. At least at that point, we had eight wins and zero losses. Right now, our record is 0-0.

Do I hope that Stewart Mandel's sleeper prediction comes true? Of course. But it takes a lot of hard work and determination to go undefeated, not just the musings of a Sports Illustrated writer.

Don't let this get to your heads, fans and players. Go out and earn what you desire. Expectations can be overwhelming, so lets dial them down for now.

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