UCLA is almost a must-win game for Arizona State if it is to accomplish its preseason goal of being Pac-12 champion, because falling into an 0-2 hole to start conference play is one the Sun Devils -- or any team -- will likely be unable to get out of.
For ever-glass-half-full senior ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici that just means it's a great opportunity to have a team further bonding together in light of the significance of the challenge of playing 4-0, Top-10 ranked UCLA on the road Saturday.
"I'm ecstatic, I think happy isn't the word," Bercovici said. "From the second we entered the builiding on Tuesday morning, I think you can tell that we have leaders and it's showing. The way we've responded the entire week has been fun. That's kind of the motto this week, have fun. The guys are taking it well and we're ready for Saturday.
"I think if you watched our practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, you'd say 'Holy Smokes, this looks like fall camp.' That's what's cool. Guys are not taking anything back. Inside run was the most aggressive I've ever seen."
Bercovici has consistently maintained ASU is a very tight-knit team this year and that's only increased in the wake of a 2-2 start to the season that has brought a lot of external scrutiny.
"I know guys are hanging out together more than ever when most teams around the country guys are doing their own thing at this point, the middle of the season," Bercovici said. "We still are coming together as a group, being a brotherhood. It's something that, wins and losses, it doesn't really [affect things]. We're always going to have each other and that's all we need."