More than bragging rights on the line for ASU

BY foxsports • November 29, 2010

By Hod Rabino and

No matter how much of a diehard Sun Devil fan you may or may not be, you know that your program and your arch-rival's have been going in opposite directions in the last couple of years.

As impressive as the 2010 campaign started out for the University of Arizona -- and, conversely, as disappointing as it has been for Arizona State -- the two programs will be tied in the Pac-10 standings if the Sun Devils exit Tucson on Thursday night with a victory.

That, in and of itself, would put a positive spin on things for the folks in Tempe, aside from the usual wide grin that a Territorial Cup win is guaranteed to provide.

But in the grand scheme of things, a win over the Wildcats would mean so much more.

Sun Devil nation collectively has an extra bounce in its step these days, as it should after a convincing 55-34 win over UCLA. At the same time, fans realize that a third consecutive losing campaign (for the first since World War II interrupted stretch of seasons) would be the result of a loss on Thursday.

Such a defeat would eliminate what little momentum the ASU fan base currently has, continue the negative sentiments surrounding coach Dennis Erickson -- sentiments many fans might still have -- and generally call into question the direction of the football program.

Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love effectively killed any talk of Erickson not returning to his post in 2011 with a statement last week, regardless of this year

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