Bill Slane

BCS ranking doesn’t mean much at the moment

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For the first time in the Todd Graham era, and for the first time since 2007, the Sun Devils found themselves in the top 25 of the BCS standings. The team’s performance against the Washington State Cougars on Halloween earned them a spot at number 22 on the rankings. While finding their way onto the BCS list is surely an indicator of how impressive the Sun Devils have been thus far in 2013, it doesn’t mean much at this point of the season and Todd Graham will be the first one to tell you that.

At this stage, it’s obvious that rankings don’t mean much, especially in college football. There are upsets every single week around the country and no one should feel unbeatable no matter where they are in the standings. Where the Sun Devils stand nationally is  very clearly something that coach Graham and his staff does not stay up at night worrying themselves about.

“I really don’t spend any time concerning myself with [BCS rankings],” Graham said in his weekly Monday press conference.

Certainly to achieve the goals of the 2013 season, the Sun Devils should expect to find themselves in the BCS rankings for the remainder of the season and they should also expect themselves to be much higher than 22 on the list.

“Our goal is to be the Pac-12 champions, Rose Bowl champion, and to be a top-5 team every year,” Graham said.

So the Sun Devils should not be surprised by their placement into the top-25 and, more importantly, they should not let it get to their heads. This coaching staff and these players know what they are capable of and they believe it is better than their spot at 22. ASU will likely be playing unranked teams for the remainder of the regular season in all but one game (at UCLA); the team should not be looking past any of those opponents. The Sun Devils continue to hold their own destiny through eight games; they must remain focused on their goal and not their ranking or the ranking of their opponent in any given week.

Another part of this story is the fact that this is the first time in the Todd Graham era at ASU that the Sun Devils have found themselves in the BCS standings. After the bowl win last season a lot of fans had high expectations for Graham and his staff for this year, and this new milestone is certainly welcome news for those fans.

There are still four games to be played for the Sun Devils, the final two of which will likely determine the Pac-12 South champion (at UCLA, home against Arizona). Winning those games, and getting to the Pac-12 Championship game is far more important to this team than a ranking in the BCS poll. Getting some national recognition is good for the program down the line, but it means little to the team today.

“I’m only concerned about one ranking, and that’s the one at the end of the season,” coach Graham said on Monday.

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