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Column: Panicking is okay, but it's too soon to write off the Sun Devils

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Panic all you want, but don't leave ASU football for dead just yet.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils came out flat in a conference game early in the season.

Stop me if you have heard this before.

In 2013, the Sun Devils went on the road and were smashed by the physical Stanford Cardinal in Week 3. All people said after that game was how the Sun Devils were not ready to "break through" - whatever that means. The team responded by winning eight of its next nine games on their way to a Pac-12 South Championship.

In 2014, ASU fell at home to the UCLA Bruins, surrendering 62 points in the process. With a backup quarterback seemingly in over his head, the Sun Devils were written off to the middle of the Pac-12 South. Once again the team rallied and won 10 games for the second straight year, raising to as high as No. 6 nationally.

"I remember going home and getting my butt kicked by Stanford," Graham said. "We just have to go to work. It is how you respond to this. We have to find a way to go out and win next week."

Graham uttered a phrase in the middle of his postgame press conference that caught a lot of attention on social media.

"This is the best team we've had. We just aren't playing like it."

Man, the nerve of that guy to still have faith in his team after the beating the Sun Devils just took at the hands of the USC Trojans. Shouldn't he just write his team off after four games like everybody else is doing?

Now, I understand the frustration of Sun Devil nation. You have been waiting for this program to breakthrough. ASU has had pockets of success in the past, but has been unable to sustain an elite product. Until this year. This was the year ASU would do it.

Coming off back-to-back 10-win seasons, some national pundits were picking ASU to make the College Football Playoff. This team was deemed a contender in the Pac-12 South and beyond, with an experienced quarterback, weapons around him and nine starters back on defense. On top of all that, Graham has stated multiple times how this was the best team he's ever had at ASU.

Through four games, they look anything but that.

ASU has played two teams from Power 5 conferences and they have lost by a combined score of 80-31 in those games. In their two wins, they have been unimpressive against teams from the FCS and the Mountain West.

However, the head coach remains confident. And he should be, or at least he should appear to be. He's the face of the program and he should be able to instill confidence onto his players. Do you really want a coach who begins to panic after one conference loss?

"Half the teams in the conference are 0-1," Graham said.

Those teams that are 0-1 in the conference include Oregon and Arizona. The Wildcats are the reigning Pac-12 South Champions and Oregon played for a National Championship last season. Arizona began conference play 3-2 in 2014 before winning their next four regular season games to claim the division.

The best start to conference play ASU has posted under Todd Graham was in 2012, when they started 3-0. And they lost their next four games.

One constant over the past two seasons is that the Sun Devils improve as the season goes on. However, Graham knows there is not a lot time for improvement.

"You can only make excuses for one or two more weeks and then you have to win," he said.

The Sun Devils still have eight conference games remaining. The Pac-12 has not been decided after two weeks of conference play.

Fans have a right to panic and question the coaching staff, you pay a lot of money to attend games and support Arizona State. However, don't write off the Sun Devils just yet, there is still a lot of football left to be played.