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Arizona State Sun Devils

What the preseason mags are saying about the Arizona State Sun Devils

The beginning of college football season may be a couple months away, but the unofficial beginning of the season is here.

That's right, a slew of college football magazines has been released in anticipation of the 2014 college football season which begins Wednesday, Aug. 27 with an epic Wednesday night tilt between Abilene Christian and Georgia State! The Arizona State Sun Devils kick off their campaign the next night against the Weber State Wildcats in Tempe.

Why should you shell out your hard-earned money to read what the national pundits are saying about head coach Todd Graham and his Sun Devils? I'll just pass the information on to you, free of charge.

But of course, if you want an information on one of the other 127 FBS teams, you're on your own. I've only got so much time, you know.

In all seriousness -- pick up any of these annuals. They all do a great job of giving a thumbnail sketch on every team in the country.


Athlon Sports

National Preseason Ranking: #16

Record Projection: 9-3 overall, 6-3 Pac-12

Pac-12 Projection: 3rd place, Pac-12 South

Bowl Projection: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. Minnesota


First Team All-Pac-12: WR Jaelen Strong

Second Team All-Pac-12: T Jamil Douglas, RB D.J. Foster, K Zane Gonzalez


Ranked 8th-best QB unit in the nation

Ranked 17th-best coaching staff in the nation

QB Taylor Kelly ranked 14th on Heisman Trophy Candidates list

Ranked 5th-best Pac-12 recruiting class


The Bottom Line: Graham talks big -- and so far has backed his words. But given the massive remake of the defense, it's hard to imagine the Sun Devils winning a second straight Pac-12 South title. ASU will attack offensively and score a lot of points, but it might also be on the wrong end of 45-42 games. ASU has to play at USC, Washington, Oregon State and arch-rival Arizona and also has a difficult non-conference game against Notre Dame in early November. A nine-win season would deserve applause.


Sporting News

National Preseason Ranking: #13

Record Projection: --

Pac-12 Projection: 2nd place, Pac-12 South

Bowl Projection: Valero Alamo Bowl vs. Oklahoma State


First Team All-Pac-12: T Jamil Douglas, RB D.J. Foster, K Zane Gonzalez


Ranked 5th-best Pac-12 recruiting class

Ranked 23rd-best NCAA recruiting class

Noted as "the most intriguing team" in the Sporting News Preseason Top 25


The Bottom Line: While ASU will routinely score in the 40s as it did last season, the difference is the other team might too. That makes the potential victory margin a lot slimmer, so winning will require some quick adjusting from a lot of defensive newcomers who weren't even around from spring ball.

It won't be easy for the Sun Devils. But it should be fun to watch whatever happens.


Lindy's Sports

National Preseason Ranking: #30

Record Projection: --

Pac-12 Projection: 3rd place, Pac-12 South

Bowl Projection: --


First Team All-Pac-12: T Jamil Douglas, RB D.J. Foster, WR Jaelen Strong

Second Team All-Pac-12: G Vi Teofilo

Third Team All-Pac-12: QB Taylor Kelly, TE De'Marieya Nelson, S Demarious Randall, G Christian Westerman


Ranked 5th-best Pac-12 recruiting class

Ranked 23rd-best recruiting class in the nation

Ranked 4th-best QB recruiting class in the nation (Colton Gerhart and Manny Wilkins)

Freshman linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif.) ranked as one of Pac-12 newcomers of the year.

Taylor Kelly ranked as 9th-best QB in the nation

D.J. Foster ranked as 17th-best RB in the nation

Jaelen Strong ranked as 7th-best WR in the nation

Ranked 9th-best offensive backfield in the nation


The Bottom Line: This program has momentum. In addition to hosting last season's Pac-12 title game, ASU put together its first Top 25 recruiting class since 2008. The Sun Devils also have started the initial phases of a $225 million makeover to aging Sun Devil Stadium. The next task is sustaining on-field success. To Graham, the goal -- a Pac-12 Championship -- doesn't change. But with all his defensive departures, getting there won't be easy.


See a prevalent theme here?

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Sun Devils' defense. And there should be -- only two starters (Randall and linebacker Salamo Fiso) return and ASU lost 83 percent of their tackles for loss, 85 percent of their quarterback sacks and 81 percent of their interceptions from last year's squad that ranked fourth overall in the Pac-12 a year ago.

But then again, last year's defense -- featuring two-time Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Will Sutton -- surrendered 30 or more points on seven occasions, so how much worse can it get even with new players on the field?

I guess we'll find out starting in late August.

About the Author


School: Arizona State University

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: October 2011

Favorite sports memory: Watching Cardinals win NFC Championship over Philly in January 2009 with my Dad...ASU wins 1987 Rose Bowl...Suns defeat Lakers in 1990 NBA Playoffs...2001 World Series

Favorite all-time athletes: Don Mattingly, Jeff Hornacek, Walter Davis, Anquan Boldin

Favorite sports movies: Friday Night Lights, The Natural, Hoosiers

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