Arizona Thanksgiving Weekend Review
A very busy weekend in sports here in the state of Arizona. We had Arizona State football end the month of November a mind-boggling 0-4 after going into the month all but locked into the Pac 12 Championship game. Arizona State basketball showing how this will be a long season. The Phoenix Coyotes showing they will be a force. The Arizona Cardinals looking like they are slowly building something special and the Phoenix Suns getting ready to tip-off on Christmas day.
Dennis Erickson has officially been let go as the head coach of Arizona State football after losing to UCLA, Washington State, Arizona, and California. California will be the only team playing in a bowl game out of those four teams. (UCLA is in the pac-12 title game by default of USC being banned from postseason play for this season and with their eventual loss to Oregon they will be 6-7 which will make them ineligible for a bowl since they would have a losing record.) If Arizona State just wins one of those games they would be playing for the chance to go to the Rose bowl. Instead they will likely be playing in the Whatever it is called Vegas Bowl. The problem was not Erickson, but unfortunately after a slide like that the head coach must take the fall. Arizona State is filled with a bunch of head cases which creates chemistry issues. Good chemistry teams bounce back after that first loss of the losing streak to UCLA. Bad chemistry and it can all fall apart with just one loss like it did for this team. We will always remember this season for the promise of what could have been for Arizona State football.
Arizona State basketball has so many issues right now it is amazing. To be fair I watched about one half of a game this season so I could be totally wrong with my analysis. My analysis is outside of Trent Lockett their is not much talent on this team. They got some seven-foot white guy who looks like a walking stiff. They have little scoring and no excitement on offense. Their top recruit Jahii Carson out of Mesa High School is still not eligible to play. Where is the recruiting from Herb Sendek? Where is the James Hardens or Jeff Pendergraphs?? Another long season is in store for the Herbivores and his job could be in jeopardy if it doesn’t start getting better in Tempe.
The Cardinals defeated the Rams 23-20 to improve to 4-7 on Sunday. The Cards have got to be kicking themselves to the four games that they blew to start the year to Washington, Seattle, New York, and Baltimore. If they split those or even just win one of those four they could be in the playoff picture right now. The lockout really stunted the defense to begin the year because it is like night and day the difference of this defense. Sam Acho now has five sacks on the year with playing only 6 games really. THe continued growth of Daryl Washington into a top linebacker. And the pass rush of Calais Campbell. This defense has some pieces in place and as they continue to grow and add pieces here and there this could be a very nice defense for years to come. On offense Kevin Kolb should be back this week and this will be the biggest month of his career. He has to show that he can lead this team over these last 5 games, four of which will be at home. Early Doucet has developed into a solid slot guy with Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts has improved. Beanie Wells showed the potential he has yesterday if he can stay healthy, so really that leaves the offensive line as the Cards biggest need to address this offense if Kevin Kolb can show improvement over these last few weeks. The Cards can finish 7-9 or even 8-8 which can create great momentum going into next season.
The Coyotes have been very impressive through the first month and a half this season. They have added some scoring to go along with their defense and great goaltending that they rely on to win games. Mike Smith has been a huge addition at goaltender averaging about only 2 goals a game and giving the Yotes great play in goal. Shane Doan has been his fantastic self with Radim Vrbata leading the team with 11 goals. Kieth Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson lead the defense and this team will be battling with the Kings, Stars, and Sharks for the Pacific Division title this season.