Posted by Sun Devil P.A.T. on August 26, 21 at 13:34:48:
In Reply to: 1996, 2015, 1976 - - - 2021 posted by Big Ron on August 25, 21 at 22:32:25:
The similarity between the 1996 and 2021 teams are both teams were "slighted" by the pre-season Pac-10/ 12 experts. I believe the 1996 team was picked to finish 3rd, or 4th in the conference before the season started. This year's team was recently picked to finish 3rd in the Pac-12 South, behind USC, and Utah, respectively.
The 1976 team is probably the most underachieving football team ASU ever had, in my opinion. That team was absolutely loaded, following the 1975 undefeated Fiesta Bowl team, that finished #2 in both the AP, & UPI Polls. The most significant loss to that team was Mike Haynes as a cornerback. Other than that, ASU had almost everybody back from that previous year's team. I still remember Frank Kush blaming himself for that team's failure, saying that he went too soft on them at Camp Tontozona, because he had a talented/ experienced team coming back from the previous season. He figured he didn't have to be that tough on them at Camp T, since they were so experienced/ talented. Following that 4-7 losing season, Kush said he will never make that mistake again. The next season, a much less talented ASU football team won the WAC, and went to the Fiesta Bowl with a 9-2 record, only to lose to a great Penn State team 30-42. That Penn State team went 11-1, with the Fiesta Bowl win included.
As others have pointed out, the 2015 team was a HORRIBLE defensive football team. That ASU team was very good/ great from an offensive standpoint with Mike Bercovici, D.J. Foster, Tim White, Devin Lucian, etc. getting the job done for a great offensive coordinator in Mike Norvell. All you have to do is look at the last two games that ASU played in 2015 to see how bad the defense was that year. ASU led California 27-10 at halftime, then could not stop the Bears from scoring in the second half. ASU would lose on a last second field goal 46-48. In the Cactus Bowl, ASU would scored 42 points against West Virginia, but couldn't stop a late touchdown by the Mountaineers to lose a heart breaker 42-43. The 2015 team was good enough to win 10, or 11 games offensively, but only went 6-7 because of an awful defense. Go Sun Devils!
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