Well, we have had a day to digest the events that transpired up in Mesa. We got to see Alex follow in the mold of his Uncle Max and drive a dagger thru the heart of Sun Devil faithful everywhere who were looking for something, anything to offset the pain of this season. Now that the air has been sucked out of Tempe and the collective breath restored in Tucson, what does this all mean? Is there anything else to this other than one more rivalry game that is over and done with and a place on the mantelpiece being filled by a cup that no one will ever drink out of?
I'd like to suggest that yes, this is a turning point for the program, I'll list out my reasons below, feel free to pile on or talke issue with it as you feel necessary:
1) Consistency - two bowl games back to back, something this town hasn't seen in a decade. It helps with everything, the players feel good, the coaches feel good, as does the administration. The boosters feel justified and can now start assembling the cash for their holiday road trip. We're even moving up the bowl game food chain, chances are good we'll be in either San Doego or San Francisco, who knows, maybe even El Paso if we can bell the bull in LA.
2) Recruiting - We are now all shareholders in a winning program, it impresses the local kids, it impresses the out of state kids. We got a coach that is passionate, our offense has big play potential, our defense gets after people and lets face it, we do look good in Red and Blue. How nice is it to refer to being the top dawg in the state? Kids like winners and right now, that applies to the Cats.
3) Pride - bragging rights, while it may play a part on the field, in office spaces around the state we got "scoreboard". Our guys appear to be classy folks, our coach may have the emotional mood swings of a teenager going thru hormonal overload and the fans at the game could use a few life lessions about how to treat opponents and sportsmanship and time management (oops, that last one was for the coach, but you get my drift).
4) Mission accomplished - For all those kids who signed on in the early stages of the program looking to build something, Congrats! You guys have done the job, the places that you hold in our hearts should be found in fast tracks to quality employemnt around the city.
The real questions remain in the form of a) will Stoops continue to improve and evolve as a coach? b) How does the program adapt when other teams swing by to poach the staff (and you know that is coming) and now that we have ascended and defeated the foothills, and c) when do we begin the assault on the peak itself and does the program have the wherewithal to make it a reality?
I can't speak to how the team will get there or even if Stoops is the guy to take us there, but I sure like the place where we are now, compared to where we were even three years ago. Hopefully you do too.