Sun Devils’ Persistent Averageness a Puzzle to Experts

The Arizona State Sun Devils host the Ducks tomorrow with little on the line for ASU. They have already secured a record which may remain unbroken forever. The Sun Devils have lost at least three games every year since at least 1998.

The record probably goes back further than ’98.

I got bored by '98.

I got bored by ’98. asked me to examine the persistent mediocrity extant in Tempe. Why aren’t the Sun Devils conference contenders every year and conference champs every decade or so?

It has puzzled minds greater than ours...if any.

It has puzzled minds greater than ours … if any.

I mean, the Greater Phoenix Area has some things going for it that sweaty fever dreams at UW can only imagine.

Her name is Blair O"Neal and she isn't a cheerleader for ASU, sportsfans. She's a golfer!

Her name is Blair O’Neal and she isn’t a cheerleader for ASU, sports fans. She’s a golfer!

Which only makes it more of a wonder that the Sun Devils haven’t had more success. I had to broaden my search. Why aren’t the Sun Devils more successful?

I thought maybe it was high academic standards keeping ASU from the upper reaches of the conference. Goodness knows, we at Oregon understand such obstacles.

Math 101 is just one reason Oregon is known as the Harvard of the West.

Math 105 is just one reason Oregon is known as the Harvard of the West.

So I searched the public records to find a typical class load for an ASU football player.

But excessive academic rigor didn't seem to be the problem either.

Excessive academic rigor didn’t seem to be the problem either.

I was afraid I would have to go back to the grand poobahs at and tell them I didn’t have an answer. But I decided to look one more place.

I found my answer in a little-known joint study conducted by psychoanalysts Joseph Adler, Erik Erikson and B.F. Skinner at Oxford University in 1931. It looked deep into the soul of mediocrity and put a name to the malady. Arizona State University football suffers from …


… Rileyism.

Go Ducks! Dehorn the Devils!

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