Dear fans of Sun Devil nation,
It's been a long time since we've had a chance to really sit down and reflect upon the state of our union. With the Class of 2011 now having earned their degrees, the time to glance back and look ahead is upon us.
2010-11 was a difficult year for Sun Devils faithful, but glimpses of light shone through the storm clouds and hinted at a brighter tomorrow.
The ASU football team was a roller coaster of close losses, but the season ended on a high note with an incredible 30-29 double overtime victory over the Arizona Wildcats. Days later, the 6-6 Sun Devils applied for, and were denied a bowl waiver which would have given them their first postseason berth since 2007.
In line with the roller coaster motif, the offseason brought with it plenty of bad news for the football team. First, senior quarterback Steven Threet would retire due to concerns over the concussions he sustained during his playing days. Electric running back Deantre Lewis would be wounded in a freak shooting accident in California.
Not everything was bad for the football team during the offseason, however: Nike and ASU unveiled a new look for the Sun Devils, and fan excitement exploded during that time. With the new black look, the improvement from new QB Brock Osweiler, and the anticipated return of Lewis this fall, expectations are high for the Sun Devils going into the inaugural Pac-12 season.
Moving on to our prize sport, the baseball team.
Right as the football season ended, we were given unfortunate news: the ASU baseball program would be banned from the postseason in 2011 due to the transgressions of former coach Pat Murphy.
While this was a huge blow to the program and its reputation, new coach Tim Esmay has led the Devils to an excellent 2011 campaign. As of May 14, the Sun Devils baseball team is 35-12 and showing no signs of letting up in the home stretch of the regular season.
Come 2012, the baseball team should be battling for Omaha and the College World Series once again.
As for the basketball program, Herb Sendek's team has seen better days. We tried to figure out what was wrong with Rihards Kuksiks, or the team, or whether or not the Sun Devils could even win a game in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament. After a 12-19 season, our morale was low.
It would only get lower as guards Brandon Dunson and Corey Hawkins would decide to transfer out of the program. Hawkins deciding to leave was a true mystery, as he was slated to be a big contributor on the 2011-12 team alongside Jahii Carson and Keala King.
Things have heated up for Sendek, and another lousy season in the mediocre Pac-12 conference could lead to real trouble in Tempe.
While analyzing the past year, how could we forget Anthony Robles? His tremendous story and dedication to the sport of wrestling led him on a path to the ultimate goal: winning an NCAA title for Arizona State. With only one leg and a big heart, Robles showed us all what we can achieve if we put forth the right mindset and effort.
So in the spirit of Anthony Robles, we have a lot of good things to look forward to. The football season begins in less than four months, and the team is dreaming big: Osweiler and company have designs on winning the Pac-12. Sure, it's a tough road ahead, but we've seen ASU football deliver in a big way before, so why can't it happen in 2011?
Our time has come, Devil fans.