Sully Says: ASU's amazing turnaround

It's one of Frank Broyles favorite sayings. Just imagine Coach with that Georgia accent saying "They always remember what happens in Novembah."

I have a November football memory that has stuck with me for almost 15 years. It was my final game as the radio voice for Arkansas State football. It was also the final game of the Joe Hollis era at Arkansas State.

For some reason, I don't remember why, ASU was ending the season on Thanksgiving Day. It was not a Turkey Day Classic. ASU lost to lowly Nicholls. I got word of the Hollis firing at halftime of the 28-22 loss. That ASU team had a very forgettable November. They lost all four games they played during November of 2001.

In my five seasons doing Arkansas State football, I remember only one winning road trip. Joe Hollis' Indians shocked a bad Hawaii team, beating them 20-0 in week four of the 1998 season.

At that time, ASU had one of the worst Division I programs in the country. Al Kincaid, Ray Perkins, John Bobo and Joe Hollis all swung and missed; 12 seasons with a total of 32 wins.

Paul Griffin, who spent only six months as athletic director,{}made a program-changing hire: he brought in an Arkansas guy, Steve Roberts. Roberts' resume included success at two low-profile schools - Southern Arkansas and Northwestern State.

Steve Roberts spent the next nine seasons building the foundation for what is now a program that wins in November. He raised the talent level and fielded much more competitive teams.

Roberts' Indians did earn a share of the Sun Belt title in 2005, but he never had that signature great season in Jonesboro. The program just couldn't clear that final hurdle under Roberts, and that cost him his job.

Roberts was the guy who brought both Ryan Aplin and Hugh Freeze to Jonesboro. The quarterback and coach played big roles in ASU's breakthrough 2011 season. Both have that "it" factor that Gus Malzahn talks about.

Freeze + Malzahn + Harsin = A November record of 9-0.

ASU is bowl eligible for the third straight season, and support for the program has come a long, long way since my days calling their games. What was once viewed as a career-ending job, has been a launching pad to the SEC for the last two coaches.

If you are relatively new to ASU football, look back at the scores from the pre-Roberts time at ASU and you will be amazed by the progress the program has made.

These are good times for a fan base that has suffered though many miserable Novembers.