As confidently predicted by yours truly several times, the Aztecs cruised to a comfortable victory against technically Power Five Arizona State in Tempe this weekend. It really happened. I was there. Here’s a crappy video I recorded to prove it:
The first thing you need to know about Sun Devil Stadium is that it’s the third-tallest structure in the continental United States (unconfirmed.) Our seats were so high up, we spent the game ducking to avoid Southwest flights coming into Sky Harbor. Local sherpas were needed to guide us to the upper deck. Vendors sold oxygen tanks along with hot dogs and sodas and not beer (more on this later).
Also, Arizona is hot. It is too hot and it should not exist. Saturday happened to be the only day under 100 degrees in weeks and it still felt like the surface of the sun. The only thing hotter than the weather in Tempe is Todd Graham’s coaching seat!!!!!!!!!1!11!!
The stadium is actually really nice. It’s in the middle of a major remodel and I’ll always appreciate watching a game in a stadium actually built for football. But there is one thing we should really appreciate about our humble _____ STADIUM: beer.
Most college football venues do not sell beer, and many that do (such as ASU and Cal) only do so in tiny, fenced-in areas with no view of the field. So halftime is a mad dash to wait in line to pay $9 for a Coors Light that you need to finish before returning to your seat. Say what you will about the Concrete Tombstone, but the beer quality and availability within its crumbling walls are much, much better than the vast majority of other college stadiums.
Anyway, the game was played and went quite well. Rashaad Penny appears to be an upgrade over the guy he replaced, who just so happened to be, you know, the most productive (asterisk) running back in the history of college football. Save for a few (a lot) of penalties, SDSU walked into a Pac-12 stadium and thoroughly dominated every phase of the game. Lord John of House Baron, Second of his Name, Noble Lord of Kicksteros, Warden of the Goalposts, Champion of Touchbacks and Conqueror of Three Points added to his nation-leading streak of consecutive field goals made under 50 yards and allowed me to continue beating this Game of Thrones running joke to death.
We hit Mill Avenue after the game to celebrate. That’s the main drag of bars and it’s directly adjacent to the ASU campus. Imagine if you took Garnet Avenue in Pacific Beach and dropped it right on top of Montezuma Road. It’s like a factory of venereal disease and it smells like Axe body spray and I’m not at all bitter that I’m five years too old to have really enjoyed it. Plus the game started so late that the place we wanted to go was closing.
And it was hot. Did I mention it was hot?
We ended up just going home and making 23-year-old me wildly disappointed.
But enough about my descent into reasonable bed times and comfortable footwear with high arch support. Let’s not gloss over the fact that our team now has a two game winning streak against the Pac-12, the reigning national offensive player of the week, a sweep of the MW weekly awards, a transcendentally great player who replaced a different transcendentally great player and a kicker who is both good at kicking and funny at jokes.
This is something that we talk about constantly, but it doesn’t make it any less important: just seven years ago we went 8-4 and won a bowl game and could not have been more happy. At the time, it felt like we arrived. A winning record with only three losses in conference and a chance to play on real ESPN was the pinnacle of achievement. Three years ago we just wanted to upset Fresno State.
Now, we have legit Heisman candidates playing for us and we expect to win the conference every year. We beat Power Five teams and check the College Football Playoff rankings to see if we have a shot at sliding into a New Years Six bowl.
This team we love is no longer just good, it’s fucking great.
And that’s fucking great.