This still could be a history-making season at Arizona State, but not the kind Coach Dennis Erickson had in mind at the opening of training camp.
The Sun Devils, after a 2-0 start, are trying to avoid the school's first six-game losing streak since the last really big stock market crash -- 1929.
Stopping the skid is going to be tough because Arizona State plays Saturday at Oregon State, which has won four of its last five.
Arizona State began 0-6 in 1929 under coach Aaron McCreary, who was promptly fired.
Erickson's job isn't in jeopardy, but he'd better find some answers soon.
Arizona State entered the season ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press media poll and had two games on its schedule -- at home against preseason No. 1 Georgia on Sept. 20, and at No. 3 USC on Oct. 11 -- that, with victories, could have catapulted the Sun Devils into national title contention.
An overtime defeat against Nevada Las Vegas in Tempe on Sept. 13, a week before the Georgia game, sent Arizona State on a losing skid that hasn't ended.
Erickson was a little skeptical about his team being as good as the preseason hype, but he had no inkling his team could be this bad.
"I don't believe anybody feels you're going to get in a five-game losing streak at all, but we're there," he said on Tuesday's Pacific 10 Conference coaches' call. " . . . Obviously the expectations were high, they've been high ever since we got here two years ago, but the reality of it right now is we're just not playing real well."
Arizona State had 16 starters back from a 10-3 team but has gone 4-8 since last year's 8-0 start. An offense that gave up 55 sacks last year ranks 103rd among 119 major college teams in sacks allowed while the Sun Devils' rushing offense ranks 114th nationally.
Arizona State needs a 4-1 finish to become bowl eligible.
Oregon State's Mike Riley is trying to avoid the "R" word despite knowing his team will earn a Rose Bowl bid if it wins its last five Pac-10 games.
"It's out there and it's a part of our world," Riley said.
The Beavers' coach warned about making too big a deal of the prospect. "What happens with that, when you lose a game, it pulls the rug right out from under you," Riley said.
Oregon State's last Rose Bowl appearance was Jan. 1, 1965
California Coach Jeff Tedford said Kevin Riley was likely to start at quarterback when the Bears play host to Oregon this weekend.
Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti said he has settled on Jeremiah Masoli. "I think you could say he's the man," Bellotti said.
Washington Coach Tyrone Willingham, who will coach the rest of the season after being forced to resign Monday, is not ready to dissect what went wrong in his tenure in Seattle.
"At the right time, I'll kind of sit down and catalog those things," he said, ". . . but right now is not the time for me to be looking back.
"We've got five football games to go, obviously playing the best team in the country, in our opinion. We better be looking face forward, if not we've got real problems."
Washington (0-7) plays at No. 7 USC on Saturday.