TEMPE, AZ - Attention Arizona State Sun Devil fans: kindly repeat after ASU – this season is NOT last season.
Yes, both seasons started with five wins in six games. Yes, both campaigns then ran smack into the quack attack. And yes, in both years, the Oregon losses beget losing streaks.
Last year, it was a resulting five-game skid. This year, the Devils are mired in a mini-skid of two games.
But, ASU head coach Todd Graham wasn't there last year and when asked about it this year, he refuses to go there.
"There is absolutely nothing about this team that resembles anything from the way that things were done last year and in attitude and approach that they take,'' Graham said.
In appearance, the Sun Devils are most definitely different – in a very good way.
Penalties have been reduced dramatically, especially the personal foul and unsportsmanlike flags.
The brand of football represents well, but it's still about results.
And with three road games straight ahead, including Saturday night's tilt at No. 13 Oregon State (forecast: low 50s and rainy), the Devils grip could be getting slippery in more ways than one.
`"Make any comparison you want to, we can't pay attention to what people say on the outside,'' Sun Devils linebacker Brandon Magee said. "We have a tough game against Oregon State coming up and we are focused on that now. Then we play USC, Washington State and Arizona and we have to run the table and really step it up the next few weeks. We are a completely different team.''
Once again, ASU fans are listening. But, based on recent history, they're more apt to tune out the sound bites. Instead of hearing that this season isn't trending towards last season, Sun Devils fans are waiting to see it.
And Graham is bullish when it comes to his own forecast.
"We have only lost two games, we still have four left. We are only halfway through conference play,'' Graham said. "These kids are going to battle through this whole thing and I believe in this team. I have great confidence in them.''