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Arizona State Sun Devils: This year is different

ASU senior linebacker Colin Parker said it best.

"I really feel like this year is different," Parker said. "It's a mindset more than anything."

Parker is right. This year does feel different than years past and it is because of the new ASU mindset.

In years past, the Sun Devils would have lost to Missouri and to USC, but the 2011 team found ways to win even after squandering second half leads.

"It is great for this football team," ASU coach Dennis Erickson said. "The resilience they showed into the third and fourth quarter when [USC] went ahead of us. We came back and it was back and forth. They are a good football team. They ran the ball real well against us in the second half. We just were not going to lose. We found a way to win."

Most ASU fans do not remember what it feels like to win a close game, but these two big home wins may be a sign that ASU has turned the corner and junior quarterback Brock Osweiler agrees.

"To be able to go out there and take down the opponent that's as quality as USC is definitely a very good feeling. It gives us a lot of confidence going forward."

The 2011 Sun Devils have shown the confidence and poise that is present in all championship caliber teams. They have weathered the storm and fought back.

Saturday night, ASU showed fans that doubted the Missouri win. They showed that it was not a one time thing. They showed that they were capable of winning more than one close game in a season.

Unfortunately, the Sun Devils have shown another side this season as well.

They have also shown they are still vulnerable on the road.

Despite the two impressive home wins, the Sun Devils 14-10 loss to Illinois shed light on an all too familiar problem in Tempe, or rather away from Tempe. While the Sun Devils appear to be very talented at home, they have some very important road games ahead.

ASU still needs to visit Utah, Oregon, Washington State and UCLA; four games that could impact the Pac-12 South race (although the Sun Devils will be favored in two if not three of the four).

While the Sun Devils showed me a lot in their dominant victory over USC, there is still a lot left to be proven if this team plans on taking the next step and really living up to not only the hype, but to their potential as well.