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ASU vs. WSU: Staff Gameday Roundtable

What does our staff think of today's game against Washington State?

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Our staff:

Ryan Bafaloukos - Co-Managing Editor | @RyanBafo
Josh Nacion - Co-Managing Editor | @Josh_Nacion
Kaelen Jones - Staff Writer | @kaelenjones
Connor Pelton - Staff Writer | @ConnorPelton28
Kristina Vicario - Staff Writer | @KristinaV_18
Blane Ferguson - Staff Writer | @BlaneFerguson
Shane Theodore - Staff Writer | @shanetheodore

Short Answer

Q: What was the most frustrating part of the loss to Oregon?

Theodore: It's one thing when ASU stutters all night on offense like it did in its other three losses, but the Sun Devils had no problem putting points on the board. The defense was what let ASU down. Vernon Adams talked smack about blitzing teams and then torched ASU. Plus, the Tillman unis were too good to not deserve a W. I could list ten more things, it was a frustrating night.

Pelton: Has to be the final two play calls. I actually don't mind throwing on first down, but considering the fact that that first play almost resulted in an interception, it probably would have been a good idea to hand the ball off from then on.

Vicario: The blitz-happy ASU defense that left receivers wide open down the field to counteract all of the third-and-one stops the Sun Devils made in many crucial moments.

Jones: It's a toss up between the blown review that cost ASU six points. and the fact Ballage and Richard weren't involved during any of the overtime periods at all.

Ferguson: To me the most frustrating part of the loss is that ASU should have won it. Aside from that, more specifically, the big plays given up from the defense, the fact that the defense surrendered 501 yards of offense the same game the offense explodes for over 700 yards, and missed scoring opportunities early in the game were frustrating for any Sun Devil.

Nacion: ASU going away from the running game with Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage both having their best games of the season with no signs of being stopped. If I remember correctly, ASU's final 23 plays of the game didn't involve either player. I still don't understand why ASU continued to pass with Mike Bercovici being inconsistent in that game, albeit prolific.

Bafaloukos: I think the most frustrating part has to be the defensive performance. What is really frustrating is that the same issues that plagued ASU early in the season continue to hinder them defensively. This is a blitz-happy defense that struggles to tackle in space, and usually that is not a good combination.

Q: Of ASU's final four games (@ WSU, Wash, Ariz, @ Cal), which do you think would be the most difficult for ASU to come away with a win?

Theodore: Cal isn't going to make a legitimate Pac-12 run as we had initially anticipated after their impressive start to the season, but any game after the Territorial Cup has the chance to be a letdown for ASU. Jared Goff can sling, and the Bears will be motivated to get as many wins as they can in what still can be a breakout season for the program.

Pelton: It should be this one. Washington State is playing great football, and I think they come out ready to get that bad taste out of their mouths after losing a tight one to Stanford on Saturday. They are the toughest team, by some margin, remaining on the schedule.

Vicario: Washington State. The Cougars have edged out both Oregon and Arizona this season and will have a sold-out stadium when they host the Sun Devils, who ride a two-game losing streak into this Saturday. ASU will have a better chance at pulling out the win on home turf against both Washington and Arizona and if they do, would carry the momentum into the last road game against Cal.

Jones: I actually found this one difficult to answer, but I'd say at Washington State. I think the Cal matchup will be tough as well, but Washington State just went toe-to-toe with Stanford and matches up pretty well with ASU in certain areas. It should be a close one in Pullman.

Ferguson: I think at Cal is going to be the toughest. The Bears have the best quarterback in the conference, it could be following a win the rejuvenates the team's spirit or pretty much crushes it and it's on the road. I honestly don't think that any of these opponents are going to be easy for Arizona State.

Best case scenario, obviously, is that ASU wins out and finishes the season 8-4 and goes to a decent bowl game. Worst case, they are fighting to become bowl eligible and it comes down to the last game of the season in Berkley to determine whether or not the Sun Devils are playing in December.

Nacion: Definitely California. The Golden Bears have cooled off a bit, but that's because they hit a tough stretch in their schedule. Cal is still arguably the conference's most improved team, and it's the only one out of the next four that's actually played better than ASU all season.

Bafaloukos: Like my colleagues, I think it is a toss up between today's game and the final game of the season against Cal. Both teams have good quarterbacks and offenses that can light up the scoreboard. I will say this week because of how well Washington State is playing and they have proven they can beat (Oregon) and contend with (Stanford) the top teams in the conference.

Q: Through eight games, ASU sits at 4-4 and essentially out of the Pac-12 South race. What has to happen in these next four games for you to consider this season a success or is it already too late for that?

Theodore: Beat Arizona and it'll be okay

Pelton: Depends on how you look at it. Going off the preseason hype, not even an 8-4 record would be considered a success. But expectations have evolved as the season has progressed, and I think winning out and performing well in a good bowl game would be somewhat successful.

Vicario: I'd say ASU has to win out in order to consider the season a success from an improvement standpoint. This is definitely not the season most experts predicted and the Sun Devils need to win these final four games in a big way in order to maintain some momentum heading into the offseason and recruiting.

Jones: Win out. It won't be a success per se, but realistically, this was a 7-to-10-win team, and to finish with eight wins would be a relatively decent year.

Ferguson: Depends on what your expectations were going in. If they were the National Champion dreams, then this season is a dumpster fire and the sky is falling down on you while buzzards pick at your burnt caracas. If they weren't, however, then eight wins including a win against Arizona somewhat salvages the season.

Ultimately, you just don't want to see the team quit, you want to see them go to a decent bowl game and win it. If that happens, it's not a terrible way to end the year.

Nacion: The only silver lining ASU can get out of this season is beating the Arizona Wildcats and winning the bowl game. Period.

Bafaloukos: I agree with Kaelen I think you have to win out and win your bowl game. That would put ASU at 9-4 and riding a five-game winning streak into next season. A win over Arizona is a must.

Additional Predictions

Ferguson Theodore Vicario Pelton Jones Nacion Bafaloukos

Defender who needs

to step up today?

Orr Carrington Fiso Simone Brown & Moeakiola Moeakiola Simone

More total yards today:

Ballage, Richard or Foster?

Richard Richard Richard Richard Richard Richard Ballage

Over/Under: 450 passing yards

for Luke Falk?

Under Over Under Under Over Under Over

Over/Under: 50 rushing yards

for Washington State

Over Under Over Over Under Under Over

How many times does the TV crew bring up sign stealing?

13 Too Many 5 Lots Too Many 5 8
Who wins? ASU, 52-38 WSU, 55-48 ASU 34-31 WSU, 31-24 ASU 51-45 ASU, 34-24 ASU 45-38