Arizona State: Facts and Factors

The Sun Devils are ranked 18th and in first place in the Pac-12 South, which has taken Dennis Erickson off the hot seat...

-- The Arizona State Sun Devils come to Pasadena to take on UCLA Saturday at 4:30. The game is being televised by Versus, with Ted Robinson, Glenn Parker and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila the announcing team.

-- Arizona State is 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-12 South (1st).

-- The Sun Devils are ranked 20th in the AP Poll, 18th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 19th in the BCS Standings.

-- UCLA is 4-4 overall and 3-2 in conference play.

-- UCLA leads the all-time series between the two schools, 16-10-1, which dates back to 1976. UCLA has an edge in games played in the Rose Bowl, 8-5-1, where the Bruins have won four of the last five meetings.

00 Last year in Tempe, the Sun Devils trounced UCLA, 55-34. It was a strange game, with UCLA jumping out to a 17-0 lead, only to allow ASU to rattle off the next 21 straight points, and overwhelmed the Bruins in the second half. UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut recorded school records in completions (33) and passing attempts (56) for a single game, and threw for a personal best 321 yards.

-- Saturday's game is significant in terms of the conference standings. In the Pac-12 South, ASU is in first at 4-1, and UCLA and USC are tied at 3-2. No one else is close, with Utah at 1-4, Arizona at 1-5 and Colorado at 0-5. With USC ineligible for post-season play, that means this game would determine whether UCLA could get a piece of the Pac-12 South lead with a win.

-- Arizona State is favored by 13.5 points.

-- But then again, Cal was favored by 4.5 points last week, and UCLA pretty much dominated the Bears, beating them, 31-14.

-- Last week, the Sun Devils jumped all over Colorado, beating them 48-14.

-- Dennis Erickson is in his 5th year in Tempe, and his 22nd season overall as a collegiate head coach. The 64-year old is 31-26 at ASU and 179-91-1 overall, and that puts him 7th on the active career coaching list for victories. He won two national championships while coaching Miami, in 1989 and 1991. He has coached three Pac-10(12) teams, Washington State (1987-88), Oregon State (1999-02) and ASU. He replaced Dirk Koetter as ASU's head coach for the 2007 season and led the Sun Devils to one of their most successful seasons in recent history, going 10-3, getting a tie for the Pac-10 championship, a Holiday Bowl berth and a final ranking of 13th/16th. Erickson, subsequently, though, has been mediocre, going 15-21 over the course of the next three seasons to get put on the hot seat coming into the current season. He has pretty clearly removed himself from it with ASU's success so far in 2011.

-- With ASU's win over Colorado last week, ASU is now bowl eligible for the first time since 2007. Last year, ASU won 6 games but two came against FCS schools, meaning only one of the wins counted towards bowl eligibility.

-- Erickson is 6-3 all-time against UCLA, including a 3-1 mark with Arizona State.

-- It's painful for Bruin fans to remember, but Erickson's first-ever meeting with the Bruins came in 1988 when he was coaching Washington State, and led his Cougar squad into the Rose Bowl and shocked the then #1-ranked Bruins, 34-30.

-- Rick Neuheisel is 1-2 against Arizona State as UCLA's head coach.

-- Of course, as everyone who hasn't been living in a cave for the last month knows, Neuheisel is on his very own very toasty seat at the moment. There was a distinct possibility Neuheisel could be let go after UCLA's Debacle in the Desert against Arizona October 20th, but he got a reprieve when the Bruins played their best game of the season last Saturday in beating Cal. Among UCLA insider circles, it's known that Neuheisel is still almost certainly destined to be let go this season. There is an outside chance he could be retained, but he would more than likely have to win out, which would include a win this weekend against ASU, wins against Colorado, Utah and USC, and put in at least a very competitive performance in the Pac-12 championship game against either Stanford or Oregon.

-- Some interesting stats from last week's game against Cal:
*UCLA's 52 rushing attempts tied for the most by a Pac-12 team this season
*The four Bruin interceptions tied ASU (v. Oregon State) for the most in a conference game this season
*Kevin Prince's 163 yards rushing was the 10th highest mark by a Pac-12 player this season, and the best by any conference quarterback
*Derrick Coleman's three touchdowns upped his season total to 9, which is the most by a Bruin since Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 20 in 2005.

-- UCLA has alternated losing and winning games every week this season. It recalls a similar season, in 1990, when Terry Donahue did the same for the entire season, ending with a 5-6 mark.

-- UCLA's current 4-4 record is the best record Neuheisel has posted as UCLA's coach heading into November. In 2008, 2009, and 2010, Neuheisel's teams were 3-5 at the end of October.

-- UCLA gets back 4 of the 5 players that were suspended last week because of the altercation against Arizona: Receivers Taylor Embree, Randall Carroll, and Shaquelle Evans. Offensive guard Albert Cid was suspended for just the first half of the Cal game. defensive tackle Cassius Marsh is still suspended for this game.

-- The 2011 Sun Devils feature one of the largest senior classes in the nation, with 26 seniors on the roster.

-- Erickson has played 27 true freshmen in his five seasons at ASU, but only three this season.

-- The weather forecast calls for a bit chilly conditions, at least for Pasadena, with a high of 61 degrees for the day.

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