The 2018 Arizona State Sun Devils schedule will feature the usual Pac-12 opponents such as USC, Arizona and UCLA, as well as one of the most exciting schedules in the country, that takes place in Sun Devil Stadium ( Tempe, Arizona ).
When Sun Devils football bettors, think of rivals it always comes down to one team: Arizona. Known as “The Duel in the Desert,” the rivalry with Arizona is played for the Territorial Cup Trophy, which is the oldest trophy in college football dating back to 1899. The two schools have met nearly 100 times, spanning three difference conferences. This rivalry has evolved into one of the fiercest in the Southwest, with the Territorial Cup exchanging hands almost every year.
Much like their rivals to the south, the Arizona State Sun Devils enter a rather important season under Todd Graham. It could be considered a win for the Sun Devils having the coach back for another season, but given the recent results maybe the administration is hoping Graham is ready to jump ship. And it’s not like that hasn’t happened already. Graham has just two losing seasons in his 11-year coaching career and two of those came in the past two seasons. The Sun Devils also failed to reach a bowl game for the first time in five years. Getting bowl-eligible in 2017 is a must for the Sun Devils.
2016 Record: 5-7 SU, 6-6 ATS, 7-5 O/U
2017 Regular Season Win Total: 5
National Championship Odds: +50000
Odds To Win Pac-12: +6500
The downfall of the Sun Devils started with a defense that couldn’t stop anyone. The first part of the schedule was the easiest except for maybe the Texas Tech game, and even while the Devs were winning, the defense showed cracks. They allowed 55 points in a shootout over the Red Raiders and narrowly defeated Texas-San Antonio. Cal wasn’t very good, but they hung 41 on ASU. It added up to an undefeated first month of the season.
However, when the competition got a little stiffer, the cracks became craters and injuries to key offensive personnel wouldn’t allow ASU to keep up on the scoreboard. Graham is a defensive coach and having his team finish dead last in the Pac-12 in total defense was a travesty. ASU gave up more yards per game than Oregon, and that’s saying something.
And it was a complete meltdown on that side of the football. The pass defense was the worst in the country and ASU made every opposing quarterback a Heisman hopeful. They allowed opponents to complete 64 percent of their passes and allowed way too many big plays. The result was six straight losses to end the season, including an embarrassing 56-35 setback to Arizona in the Territorial Cup. The year-end mess warranted staff changes.
Graham has proven to be such a good mentor to his assistant coaches that after a season or two of grooming, they take off for a higher profile gig. Another season means another offensive coordinator in Tempe and Graham hired Billy Napier to take over for Chip Lindsey, who took off for Auburn. Napier was Alabama’s wide receivers coach last season and will have some talent to work with.
The biggest piece is quarterback Manny Wilkins, who suffered through an assortment of injuries last season. Still, he was able to throw for 2,329 yards while completing 63.3 percent of his passes with 12 scores. There were nine interceptions, which thwarted many drives. Wilkins will have to earn the starting job with Bama transfer Blake Barnett lurking. Barnett has a history with Napier from their days in Tuscaloosa and could take over if Wilkins slides. At least ASU should have a competent backup after a pair of freshmen did nothing in place of Wilkins last season.
More attention will be given to the run game after ASU managed just 131.5 yards on the ground last season. Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage, the top two runners last season, both return with skill and experience. ASU was in the middle of the Pac in scoring last season and that shouldn’t change. Hopefully, with experience and health, there are improvements. The D needs a serious upgrade and Graham has turned duties over to Phil Bennett. There are some capable players up front in Tashon Smallwood and JoJo Wicker, but it could be another bonanza for opposing offenses in 2017.
Week 1: Arizona State vs. New Mexico State, Thursday, August 31
Week 2: Arizona State vs. San Diego State, Saturday, September 9
Week 3: Arizona State at Texas Tech, Saturday, September 16
Week 4: Arizona State vs. Oregon, Saturday, September 23
Week 5: Arizona State at Stanford, Saturday, September 30
Week 6: OFF
Week 7: Arizona State vs. Washington, Saturday, October 14
Week 8: Arizona State at Utah, Saturday, October 21
Week 9: Arizona State vs. USC, Saturday, October 28
Week 10: Arizona State vs. Colorado, Saturday, November 4
Week 11: Arizona State at UCLA, Saturday, November 11
Week 12: Arizona State at Oregon State, Saturday, November 18
Week 13: Arizona State vs. Arizona, Saturday, November 25
Here are the individual conference break downs for each conference. If you click on the conference links we will also break down each school team by team sorted by conference.
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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