Updated Apr 30, 2013 - 10:25 am
Sun Devils a Pac-12 sleeper team? Why not?
In fact, they were picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 South during media day last year.
Sure, everyone hoped they'd be better under new coach Todd Graham than they were with Dennis Erickson at the helm, but key losses (QB Brock Osweiler, WR Gerell Robinson, LB Vontaze Burfict) along with a new scheme led many to believe the Devils were still a couple years away from competing for a Pac-12 South title.
But the Devils won eight games in 2012 and are bringing back a host of returning starters in 2013, so the opinion of them has certainly changed.
In an ESPN Insider article that looks to identify 'sleeper' teams for 2013, the Sun Devils are named as one that could surprise in the Pac-12.
Why: Everybody's back. That includes defensive tackle Will Sutton, who was expected (by some) to skip his senior season. He led a surprisingly efficient ASU defense, which ranked second in the Pac-12 in yards per play against (4.78). Think about the way Stanford inched into the league race: by playing better defense than most of the conference. Why couldn't ASU be this season's version of Stanford?
Or perhaps ASU could rise in the South Division like UCLA did last season. The Sun Devils, with quarterback Taylor Kelly (8.4 yards per attempt, 29-9 TD-INT ratio), could steal votes from the Bruins for the preseason pick in the division.
Travis Haney, who is the author of the article, notes that ASU's schedule offers some pitfalls, including an Oct. 5 matchup with Notre Dame at Cowboys Stadium. But, ultimately, he struggled to find a reason why the Sun Devils will not have a good season.
Why not: Frankly, it's difficult coming up with a reason why ASU wouldn't rise this season. It's an experienced team in a division -- and conference -- that's relatively open.
What a difference a year makes.
Adam Green, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
- High Octane Hour with Arizona State's Graham begins next week
- ASU unveils new uniforms; is it still cutting-edge when everybody's doing it?
- ASU linebacker Marcus Washington: 'I just love hitting people'
- Arizona State Sun Devils unveil alternate football uniform
- ASU Sun Devils ranked No. 19 in AP preseason poll
- Jake Plummer- Former Cardinals and Sun Devils quarterback - Wednesday August 20Jake Plummer says Johnny Manziel is just passionate about the game of football.
- Craig Grialou- Arizona Sports reporter - Friday August 15Craig Grialou says the Chip Sarafin story isn't even talked about within the ASU Football team.
- Craig Grialou, AZ Sports Intrepid Sports Reporter - Friday August 15Craig gives us an update on ASU football training camp in Camp T.
- Jeff Van Raaphorst, ASU Rose Bowl winning quarterback - Thursday August 14Does ASU's offense have enough firepower to overcome it's defensive shortcomings?
- ASU Fork Report - Wednesday August 13ASU Fork Report featuring Greg McElroy!