So many what ifs for Arizona State

Arizona State should not be satisfied with losing 20-19 at No. 11 Wisconsin.

But before we list things that should infuriate Sun Devils fans, let's note the major conclusion to draw from the heartbreaking loss: The Sun Devils aren't going to be anybody's patsy. The defense is legit and the offense is vastly improved. They looked much more like a bowl team than the one projected to finish ninth in the conference again.

That said.

What if...

  • Thomas Weber didn't miss a 25-yard field goal?

  • George Bell didn't drop a sure TD pass? Or then fail to get one foot down in the end zone on the next play?

  • Kyle Middlebrooks returned that kickoff 96 yards instead of 95 on the last play of the first half?

  • The officials didn't blow an obvious pass interference in the end zone?

  • Deantre Lewis didn't trip over the feet of his blocker who was taking care of the last man to beat on what would have been a 98-yard TD run?

  • Weber's PAT to tie the game with four minutes left wasn't blocked?

  • James Brooks didn't commit a pointless, away-from-the-play personal foul on Wisconsin's next possession, that turned a third-and-5 from the 33 into a first-and-10 from the 47.

What if, what if, what if. And if wishes were fished then pigs would fly. Wisconsin fans would counter with, "What if we didn't lose five starters to injury?"

Still, the Sun Devils offense gained 380 yards, including 169 yards on the ground. Steven Threet looks the part at quarterback, and the offensive line no longer appears to be an Achilles heel.

Question, Sun Devils fans: Does that information feel pretty good?

Sure, this one hurts. But it also suggested that the Sun Devils are going to be a participant, rather than an observer, in the Pac-10 race this fall.