There are still two games left in this Arizona State Sun Devils 2022 football season, but last Saturday felt like the final dagger in the heart.
Because I was so mad about last weeks loss against UCLA, I protested and did not write a column (I forgot to), but am back now (credit to me) to do this for the people (love you, Zoon).
Back to the game. Despite all the distractions that have seeped into this hopeless program like water into the hull of the Titanic, somehow Shawn Aguano’s team had something to play for going into Week 11: the right to play in a bowl game.
And as the Washington State Cougars have done the previous three times these teams played, they beat and dominated a lifeless Sun Devil team that looked like they wanted to be anywhere but Martin Stadium on Saturday.
Let’s get into it.
The Good-It’s almost over
Sun Devil fans, I know. Most of us knew this year would be a struggle, but I don’t think anybody truly expected how much of a mental slog that this season would be. With two weeks left in the season, the Devils stand at 3-7, with a losing streak of four, and now back-to-back losses.
They’ve fired an often maligned coach who has become the poster boy for the dysfunctional mess that he and his boss (you know who I’m talking about) created. There is still an ongoing investigation for violations committed by coaches on Herm Edwards’ staff, they’ve dealt with an exodus of players (the most important one has led LSU to a SEC West-title and the chance to play for a conference crown), and they play in a conference who’s future is unknown.
The season hasn’t been easy. It’s been difficult to be optimistic about this program (I sure haven’t been), and it’s even harder to judge what the logical next steps are.
Looking in the short term lens, last weekends game was par for the course for this team. The Cougars were better coached, more motivated, and frankly overwhelmed the Sun Devils like most teams have this season.
Again, it’s almost over.
I wish Coach Aguano loved good play calling like he loves calling unnecessary two-point conversions. While the Devils were never really in the game, Aguano definitively coached them out of it. If they took their extra points, they would have had an opportunity at the end of the game. Even if you’re relying on an onside kick, you at least have the chance to take the game to overtime.
Aguano didn’t give them that chance.
I’ve said it week after week, I like coach Aguano but he isn’t fit to be the head coach and face of this program for the future. ASU for so long has been entrenched in guys who aren’t fit or able to lead the program, and since the early days of Todd Graham they haven’t been close to national relevancy. While it’s great that Aguano is putting an emphasis on in-state recruiting (seriously, that is great), it isn’t enough to overcome his shortcomings as a head coach.
The Ugly-QB Play
Trenton Bourget gave this team a spark, but let’s be real, he’s still a former walk-on quarterback. Emory Jones shows time and time again the reasons why he transferred away from Florida.
While there isn’t a tone of resources to work with despite Elijhah Badger, X Valladay and Jalin Conyers (wait that’s a pretty solid three). It’s absurd that Jones has struggled with the weapons available, even if it is less than other places.
X has played like one of the best backs in the league, Conyers has really come on as of late, and Badger has been one of the most dynamic weapons in the Pac-12. The resources are there, and credit to Aguano for trying to get those guys involved, but the clear limitations at quarterback are hindering the offense to what it could be.