TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State coach Todd Graham earlier this season called the first five games of his tenure "critical" to not only this season but the entire program.
"I felt like the first five games were the most critical games," Graham said Wednesday. "Having that success early, it helps with recruiting, it helps with buy in, it's just so critical. That's why we've worked our tails off."
Saturday's game against Cal in Berkley marks game No. 5, and Graham believes a win could provide a key momentum swing for this season and beyond.
ASU has not won at Memorial Stadium since 1997 and has lost eight of its last nine meetings with Cal. Graham said he doesn't give much credence to such streaks, but he has had this game circled for quite some time.
"I looked at the schedule at the beginning of the year, just being honest with you, and I looked at Utah and Cal and said 'That'll determine our season,'" Graham said. "So that's how important this game is."
A win against Cal would als...