First BCS football rankings are out…ASU didn’t make the cut

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                </div>The first BCS rankings of the college football season are out, but the list of the top 25 teams does not include an Arizona school.  Ditto the AP Top 25 […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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The first BCS rankings of the college football season are out, but the list of the top 25 teams does not include an Arizona school.  Ditto the AP Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll.

There are, however, four schools from the Pac-12 that appear in the BCS rankings: No. 3 Oregon, No. 6 Stanford, No. 12 UCLA, and No. 25 Oregon State.

Arizona State (5-2, 3-1) had hoped that its impressive 53-24 victory over No. 20 Washington might be enough to enable them to squeeze onto the list.  And the week before, the Sun Devils had dominated Colorado, running up over 500 yards of offense and putting 54 points on the board, as head coach Todd Graham was able to rest his starting quarterback, Taylor Kelly, after just half a game in which he threw for 233 yards.

Hey, what’s not to like about these guys?

The University of Arizona Wildcats also won their game Saturday, recovering after a couple of consecutive losses to beat Utah, 35-24.  Arizona also displayed a solid game plan that was well-executed by quarterback B.J. Denker, but it was running back Ka’Deem Carey that carried the load.

Carey, the junior from Tucson’s Canyon del Oro High School, accounted for 236 of Arizona’s total 300 rushing yards.

“On the second-to-last drive, I said we were going to win by putting the team on Ka’Deem’s back,” said Denker after the game.  “Everyone knew we were going to give the ball to (number) 25.”

And Carey responded to the challenge with a 44-yard touchdown run with 1:30 left to play, to pull away from Utah, which had cut the Cats’ lead to four points midway through the fourth quarter.

Arizona finished with 468 total yards, but also gave up 329 to the Utes – despite the fact that the defense forced a pair of turnovers and recorded three quarterback sacks.

But the Cats have built their 4-2 record largely by virtue of a very soft non-conference schedule that got them off to a 3-0 start.  The Utah win follows losses to Washington and USC.

However, ASU has been solid so far.  Their only disappointing performance came against Stanford, ranked No. 5 in the country at the time.  They even played well against Notre Dame, which played for the national title last year, losing that game by just three points.

Against Washington (4-3, 1-3), not only did the Sun Devils rush for 317 yards, but Kelly threw for another 271 yards and two touchdowns.  After the Huskies put the first seven points on the board on their first possession, ASU posted the next 29 and controlled the game the rest of the way.

Marion Grice, the nation’s leading scorer, ran for 158 yards and four touchdowns, to put him just four short of the school record 22 TDs in a single season, set back in 1950.

Perhaps even more impressive, though, was the defense, which looked a lot like the attack force that stifled opponents last season.

Washington, which came into the game averaging 248 rushing yards per game, was held to minus-five yards against a swarming ASU defense that sacked Huskies’ QB Keith Price six times and held the nation’s leading rusher, Bishop Sankey, to just 22 yards.  ASU’s redshirt freshman linebacker, Salamo Fiso, recorded two of those sacks, setting the Huskies back a total of 24 yards.  Anthony Jones and Damarius Randall led the way with four solo and one assisted tackle each.

Until Saturday, Washington was third-best among FBS teams in not allowing opponents to force them into three-and-outs, failing to get a first down in just nine tries all season.  ASU forced them into 10 three-and-outs, more than the Huskies have dealt with all year long, and forced U-Dub to punt the ball seven times in the first half alone.

But, despite saying he was “very impressed” with his team’s performance after the game, Graham wasn’t satisfied:

“We can play a whole lot better than we played tonight… and we played really, really well.  So we have a chance.”

That chance to win the Pac-12 gets better with each passing week.  After Stanford beat UCLA last week, ASU sits atop the south division of the conference, half a game ahead of the Bruins.

And now the Devils have 10 more days off before meeting Washington State on Oct. 31.  The Cougars have won just two conference games in five tries, so it’s a game that ASU should win – despite the unpredictability of the weather during a Pullman winter.

However… we all know what kind of strange things can happen on Halloween.

(Photo: ASU Athletics)