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
- Sun Devils hold Pro Day in front of big NFL contingent
- ASU head coach Todd Graham not concerned about loss of talent on defense
- NFL Draft '14: Recapping Arizona's Pro Day and looking ahead to ASU's
- NFL analyst on ASU DT Will Sutton: 'He's going to be a player in the NFL'
- Maybe defenses do need a break from fast-paced O
- Bill Frieder, former Arizona State basketball head coach - Friday March 7Bill Frieder discusses the state of ASU basketball, and what should the NBA do about the draft age t
- Eric Musselman, ASU basketball associate head coac - Friday March 7Eric Musselman talks about his relationship with Gerald Green, his thoughts on Jahii Carson's seaso
- Todd Graham, ASU Football Head Coach - Friday March 7What's the state of ASU Football?
- Stewart Mandel, SI.com college football writer - Thursday March 6Stewart Mandel talks about why the proposed rule to limit hurry up offenses in college football was
- Ray Anderson, ASU Athletic Director - Wednesday March 5Ray Anderson talks all things ASU with Dan and Vince.