June 18, 2001
Get theThe Inside Scoop on ASU athletics.
By Nick Murphy
This week I want to talk about you, the fans, and whatyou can do to help us win football games. Obviously we have the sameaspirations for our team as you do. Go to the Rose Bowl, win a NationalChampionship, beat the hell out of UofA every year with no exceptions, andso on and so forth. Many of the emails I received this week asked what peoplecould do to help us win. The answer is, do whatever you can to support theathletic department! Showing up to games is the best and easiest way formost people to show their support. Spend your money on season tickets and comewatch us play every Saturday. Tell your friends to come also. Come early,and leave late. Tailgate. Enjoy the atmosphere of college football.
The most successful teams in the NCAA have problems coming up with enoughtickets to satisfy the demand to watch them play. Take for example theOregon Ducks (I know what you are thinking, and trust me... I hate them more thanyou do). In 2000 the Ducks averaged 45,093 spectators in a stadium with acapacity of 41,698. That's almost 4,000 over capacity each week. What'smore, they have exceeded capacity five of the last six years. The Ducks, andtheir fans, have put together a current streak of 20 straight home wins, andAutzen Stadium has become a very difficult place to play! After 20 gameswithout a loss, many teams go to Eugene thinking that it will take some typeof miracle to win a game up there. That's exactly what teams need to feelwhen they come into Sun Devil Stadium. It should be too hot, too loud, andtoo intimidating for anyone to dream that they can win on our field.
We were ahead by 14 points last year against Oregon in the fourth quarter.One minute, thirty seconds, and two overtimes later, they won. That Duckteam went 10-2, won their bowl game against Texas, and were ranked very high atthe end of the 2000 season. What's my point? As individuals we were moretalented than Oregon. We played well enough to win, and we should have. Whywere only 53,000 in attendance?
In October, the #4 Washington Huskies came to town (you remember them, theywent on to win the Rose Bowl). Down by 6, with the ball near midfield and 10minutes remaining, people began filing out of the stadium. That was one ofthe most embarrassing moments of my life. At the time, we were sporting a4-1 record, and still had a legitimate spot at Pasadena had we scored a singletouchdown in the time remaining. It was an ugly and sloppy game, but we werestill very much in it. Situations like that are the times when we need ourfans the most. It's difficult to get out of a rut late in a game becausefrustration sets in.
When a crowd picks a team up by cheering, it has the same effect as a goodfriend saying 'Come on, I know you can do it,' during a difficult workout.Motivation is a strange thing. I know many people use the excuse that theyreally want to do something, and they need to do it, but its difficultwithout someone to 'make' you do it. Often times, that 'make' is justsomeone saying, 'I'm here for you. We can do this.' When we are playing hard butnothing seems to go our way, the crowd can be like that friend who says, 'Wecan do this.' Sometimes that's all it takes. Just ask the Ducks! Did Imention they have a waiting list of 1,150 for season tickets?
We have 7 home games in 2001. That includes last year's #4 Washington, #6Oregon St, all three of our non-conference games, and the UofA. To not buyseason tickets this season would be a sin for any real Devils fan. We have anew staff, and new attitude, as well as the nucleus (51 returning lettermen)of a team that played harder, and was better, than our record showed in2000.
A sellout home crowd every week would make a world of difference to us! Myhigh school coach used to say, 'Do the little things, and the big thingswill take care of themselves.' Any 'little' thing you can do as an individual tomake Sun Devil Stadium more intimidating for the visitors, and moresupportive for us, will help us accomplish the big things in close games.I'll see each and every one of you on September 8th at 7pm, when the SanDiego State Aztecs become the first team to witness the new atmosphere of arocking and insane Sun Devil Stadium.
Nick can be reached via email at MurphysLaw84@aol.com.