(Photo: ASU Athletics)
An upset loss to the Oregon State Beavers dropped the Arizona State Sun Devils from the top 10 of the College Football Playoff selection committee rankings, and with just three more weeks of updated rankings remaining, the team now sits at No. 13 in the nation.
ASU entered a road trip to Corvallis, Ore. as the No. 6 team in the CFB Playoff, but a second half collapse and a 35-27 defeat at the hands of the Beavers severely damaged the Sun Devils’ chances at contention for the national championship. However, all things considered, the fall wasn’t too bad for ASU and plenty of goals are still a possibility for the team.
The immediate scenario in the final two weeks of the season for the Sun Devils is pretty simple: Defeat Washington State on Saturday and No. 15 Arizona after Thanksgiving. Then hope that No. 9 UCLA loses to either No. 19 USC or Stanford. If that occurs, ASU would advance to face No. 2 Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship.
If the Sun Devils are able to finish the season with a big turnaround and three consecutive wins, including ones over Arizona and Oregon, it’s not unreasonable to believe the team could have an argument for inclusion in the CFB Playoff. Especially considering the playoff committee favors conference champions and has ranked Pac-12 teams favorably in every group of rankings.
Still, there are plenty of other scenarios that could occur for ASU in the next month and several different bowl games remain a possibility.
After the tough loss to Oregon State, ASU head coach Todd Graham admitted that he was overly frustrated at times on Saturday night and said he apologized to the team after the loss. Still, the team is trying to maintain optimism with many goals still within reach, including the Territorial Cup and possibly a second consecutive trip to the Pac-12 Championship.
“You make mistakes, you own up to them, and then you move forward,” Graham said. “The good news is we are 13th in the country and we have an opportunity to play for a Pac-12 Championship. It was tough because we contributed a whole lot to our demise.”
Other notables in the latest CFB Playoff rankings include the high rankings received by other Pac-12 schools, including two teams that ASU has defeated: No. 17 Utah and No. 19 USC. Consider this: Not once in the four editions of the CFB Playoff rankings has a Pac-12 team been ranked lower than their slot in the AP Poll.
It’s clear that the CFB Playoff selection committee thinks highly of the Pac-12 and that could bode well for ASU’s bid for a chance to play in the playoff or on New Years’ Day.
The Sun Devils will have the opportunity to bounce back from their loss with a home game against Washington State on Saturday at 11 a.m. MT. It is the final home game of the year for ASU and the team’s 11 seniors, including Taylor Kelly, Jamil Douglas, Marcus Hardison and Damarious Randall, will be honored before the game.