ASU Needs to Close the Gap with Two Departing Rivals
ASU has shared the Pac-12 with departing members USC and UCLA since 1978, and in that time has compiled losing records against both schools in football and basketball.
I won’t lie to you, the following information will be tough to look at for rabid ASU fans but here are the numbers:
ASU vs USC | 14-24
ASU vs UCLA | 15-22-1
ASU vs USC | 42-60
ASU vs UCLA | 24-71
USC and UCLA are both slated to leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten conference in 2024. Two more years doesn’t give the chance to even the score, but the Sun Devils have two more seasons to close the gap before the California schools both move on to the Big Ten in this latest round of conference realignment.
Why is it important for ASU to win?
Apart from the obvious desire to win more games, Arizona State needs to showcase its ability to contend with “blue-chip” programs like USC and UCLA to stay alive in the ever-evolving world of college conference realignment.
Even if the Pac-12 adds additional members and stays viable over the next couple of years, it would make sense for ASU to be on the lookout for their own best available options.
Being able to show that the football and basketball programs are capable of contending with desirable teams like the departing California schools would be part of a larger pitch for the inclusion of ASU in expansion talks with one of the looming super-conferences such as the Big Ten or Big 12.
There has already been talk of the Big 12 looking for expansion opportunities through the poaching of Pac-12 schools including Arizona State and in-state rival University of Arizona.
Jason Scheer of Wildcat Authority has reported that both Arizona schools, alongside Colorado and Utah, are already scheduled to meet with the Big 12.
Even if that move does not occur in this round of realignment, Arizona State has to be vigilant in looking for a new home and showing what they would bring to a new conference.
Their first chances to do so will come in October and November of this year.
ASU vs USC | October 1, 2022 at LA Memorial Colliseum
UCLA vs ASU | November 5, 2022 at Sun Devil Stadium
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