Barring complete chaos in the last two weeks of the college football season, Arizona State is now completely out of the picture for the College Football Playoff. It's a tough pill to swallow for both the team and its fans, but with senior day and the possibility of a Pac-12 title still looming, the Sun Devils are trying to keep their heads held high.
"You've got five practices left to earn some more you know what I'm saying? All of our achievable goals are still on the table," head coach Todd Graham said Tuesday after practice. "Especially the one we set out to and that's to be conference champions."
Arizona State must win their last two games and count on UCLA to lose one of their final two contests to either USC or Stanford in order to become Pac-12 South champions. Graham also stressed the importance of winning on senior day and honoring the seniors with a victory.
"I think they all look up to us, they don't know it's going to come up real fast on them," senior defensive end Marcus Hardison said. "This week I mean you just kind of realize its your last home game, that's what hit me more than I thought."
It can be an emotional time for the seniors, who know it will be their last game at Sun Devil Stadium since the Pac-12 Championship game moved to a neutral site at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California this season.
"That probably won't hit me until later on," Hardison said. "I'm just real happy with senior year and about to graduate."
Jaelen Strong and Jordan SImone
After leaving Saturday night's game against Oregon State with an apparent head injury, Jaelen Strong wore a green no-contact jersey at practice Tuesday. Graham offered up more details after practice saying Strong suffered what he characterized as a "light" concussion.
"It's obviously being very cautious," Graham said. "He has improved dramatically--doing well-- I should know more tomorrow where we're at on that. Probably 50-50 is what I'd say (on chance of playing Saturday). Obviously he wants to play and all that but we're going to make sure that he has--you know-- he's got to go through the protocol that we always go by."
Jordan Simone also left the game in the second quarter after making a big hit, Graham said Monday that losing him greatly impacted the defense. Graham was asked Tuesday if he would be okay.
"He better be, he got just a little stinger. I think its kind of lingering from the week before," Graham said.
- When Graham was asked whether or not he expected Jaxon Hood back this season: "I don't know, probably right now if you're asking me to guess, probably not." Hood missed part of preseason camp and has been absent from practice since the week leading up to the Notre Dame game with what Graham has called, "personal issues."