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Lincoln Kennedy: Pac-12 South is as competitive of a division as there is in college football

Arizona State defensive lineman Demetrius Cherry (94) returns a fumble against Texas A&M, setting up a touchdown, in the first half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015, in Houston, Texas. (AP Photo/George Bridges)

LISTEN: Lincoln Kennedy, Pac-12 Network analyst

Count Lincoln Kennedy among those that doesn’t think the sky is falling for ASU after dropping their season opener to Texas A&M, 38-17.

In his eyes, one loss is far from a death sentence in the talent-heavy Pac-12 South.

“The Pac-12 South is as competitive of a division as there is in college football,” Kennedy said.

“I was coming into the season thinking that whoever wins the Pac-12 is probably going to have two losses — whether it’s cannibalized throughout the division or in out-of-conference games, like the Texas A&M one, I don’t think the season is totally over.”

That’s not to say that the Sun Devils’ opener didn’t raise some red flags.

“What was most disappointing to me about that game was I just didn’t feel that the Sun Devils and coach Graham had a contingent plan if their offensive line struggled with two of the best defensive ends in the country,” Kennedy said.

Resonating that struggle was ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici being sacked nine times, four of which were courtesy of Aggies defensive end Daeshon Hall, who also forced two fumbles.

Another red flag was the difference in speed between ASU and Texas A&M — especially considering that ASU was projected to be one of the fastest teams in the Pac-12.

“As far as the speed is concerned of the two teams, it just seemed like Texas A&M was on a whole different level.”

A three-point game heading into the fourth, the Aggies scored three times in less than six minutes of possession that quarter to seal their fate, highlighted by a 66-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Allen to Christian Kirk in a drive that took just 31 seconds.

With two games remaining before conference play begins, ASU and the Pac-12 have some time to work through the issues that arose in week one.

“The season’s not over, it’s only one game,” Kennedy said. “But there’s a whole lot of cleaning up to do if the Pac-12 wants to be in the national presence, in the national spotlight.”

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