Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham has heaped plenty of praise on his team in the last several weeks. But a pair of national college football experts think the defending Pac-12 South champions are destined to take a significant step back this season.
CBS Sports analysts Dennis Dodd and Chip Patterson have labeled the Arizona State Sun Devils the Pac-12's most overrated team of 2014.
Dodd, who picked the Sun Devils to finish third in the Pac-12 South division, said their "brutal schedule" and inexperienced defense will limit their success.
Patterson agreed that ASU's defense, which lost nine starters from last season, have a lot to prove:
Todd Graham has been enthusiastic when talking about his reloaded defense, but I'm not buying the Sun Devils as a threat in the South until they show it on the field. Will Sutton, Carl Bradford, Chris Young and Alden Darby will be missed dearly.
On the positive side, CBS Sports analysts Jon Solomon and Jerry Palm selected Sun Devil freshman linebacker Derik Calhoun as the Pac-12's top newcomer. Solomon said Calhoun has taken advantage of enrolling early at ASU:
There are plenty of spots to fill on Arizona State's defense, which returns only two starters. The freshman participated in spring camp and quickly rose up the depth chart.
In all, two CBS Sports analysts picked the Sun Devils to finish second in the Pac-12 South division. Three picked ASU to finish third, and two more said the Devils will finish fourth.
Six of seven CBS Sports analysts picked UCLA as this year's Pac-12 South champs; the only dissenter was Jerry Hinnen, who picked USC to win the division.