That’s the way the ball bounces. It’s a game of inches. Zendejas beats Arizona State.

Some clichés are more fun than others. There’s also a cliché about winning ugly that applies.

Nobody was able to make us feel better after the Washington and Cal games. And that same nobody can make us feel bad about beating ASU.

Sometimes the ball bounces off someone’s foot. Sometimes a tipped ball lands in a confused quarterback’s hands. But sometimes a blocked punt isn’t returnable and the team ends up settling for a field goal. Sometimes a muffed punt hops right back into the returner’s hands. The latter two didn’t happen on this particular day and the Wildcats left Sun Devil Stadium victorious.

Each football season is divided into three parts with the opportunity to earn a fourth. There’s the out-of-conference season, the Pac-10 season, and your rivalry game. The Cats did well enough in the first season, the second season is incomplete, but the 2009 version of the third season is officially and forever a success.

On a day when the UA offense never got it going as Nick Foles had to wear a Luke Skywalker-like glove to protect his injured hand, the Wildcat D-line came up huge with a combined five sacks. Not bad for a bunch of converted fullbacks.

Have you noticed all four of our starting defensive lineman have a uniform number in the 40s? Oh, you didn’t? You must have only been looking for useful information.

ASU’s defense is legit but unfortunately for them the Devil offense is really, really, really, really, really, really bad. How strange is it to see Arizona with the superior quarterback and ASU with the defense that is dying for some support?

How terrifying was it that we were staring at overtime with a minute to play? None of us in Red and Blue needed extra football for the second straight week. Overtime should be banned for a while. Blame the economy if you have to. I’ll gladly take a furlough.

If you want to drive yourself crazy consider this: If Foles’ pass at Cal doesn’t get tipped, and if the Cats get the stop on 4th-and-4 against Oregon, this win against ASU clinches the Rose Bowl. Two plays.

But I will be staying sane this week. My glass is half-full and it’s conspicuously shaped like a silver cup from 1899. Bring on the good news…

We won a three-point game! The seven close-game losing streak is over.

We won wearing white-on-white! It was the first win for our palest uniform combination since Willie Tuitama’s first start four years ago. That win was by two points so the flip side is two of Mike Stoops’ three 3-points-or-less wins have been in white-on-white, meaning both of the white-on-white wins in the Stoops era (we’re 2-6) were decided by narrow margins.

Fashion conclusion: Arizona can win while wearing white jerseys and white pants, but rarely, and barely.

Stoops is now 3-3 against ASU but he’s 2-1 against Dennis Erickson. Considering Devil fans’ low opinion of Coach Mike that has to annoy them the way it bothers Wildcats that Stoops finished with a losing record against Dirk Koetter.

Sun Devils should be happy they don’t have a bowl game. Erickson (now 19-18 at ASU) gets to call himself a winning coach for a few more months.

Don’t forget that Koetter was fired for winning 54% of his games, after Bruce Snyder was fired for winning 57% of his games.

Mike Stoops on the other hand had his best season to date last year and he has a chance to better it this year. With seven wins the Cats have now guaranteed a bowl game and winning record for the second straight year.

My prediction is a win against USC puts us in the Sun Bowl while a loss leaves us with the Poinsettia Bowl.

Well, the Poinsettia isn’t a prediction, it’s a fact. But if the UA beats USC and Oregon beats OSU I think the Holiday Bowl takes Stanford and their Heisman Trophy finalist leaving the Cats for El Paso.

The only other potential scenario I see after a win over USC is this:

  1. OSU beats Oregon to go to the Rose Bowl.
  2. The Holiday Bowl has to take Oregon.
  3. The Sun Bowl takes Toby Heisman.
  4. The Emerald ignores the pleas from Vegas and settles for a repeat visit from hometown Cal.
  5. The Bowl Formerly Known As Las Vegas has to take Arizona who is ahead of USC in the standings.

The Vegas opponent? BYU, as the Cougars finished second in the MWC with TCU going to a BCS bowl. Could you handle an exact repeat of last year’s bowl matchup?

That wouldn’t be a bad bounce at all.