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NCAA football analyst: Wisconsin the ‘measuring stick’ game for ASU

LISTEN: Phil Savage, Senior Bowl Executive Director

It’s no secret that the early part of Arizona State’s 2013 football schedule looks to be rather difficult.

After hosting Sacramento State in the opener, the Devils will have a home game against 23rd-ranked Wisconsin before a road game against fourth-ranked Stanford, which will be followed by a home date with 24th-ranked USC. The brutal start finishes with a game against 14th-ranked Notre Dame at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

By the time it is all over, we should have an idea of just how good the Sun Devils are. Win the majority, and perhaps they’ll contend for a Pac-12 title. Lose most of them, and maybe the folks in Tempe are destined for a mediocre season.

At any rate, Phil Savage, who has been a director of player personnel, scout and coach in the NFL, and right now holds the titles of Executive Director of the Senior Bowl as well as radio analyst for the Alabama Crimson Tide, believes we’ll know about ASU’s prospects after their second game of the year.

“I think we’re going to find out a lot about them when they play Wisconsin,” he told Arizona Sports 620’s Bickley with Marotta Tuesday. “Wisconsin brings a number of players back.”

Savage called it “a good measuring stick game” with regards to whether or not the Sun Devils will compete for the Pac-12 title, but at the very least, he believes ASU is set up pretty well.

“Any time you start with some senior leadership, and Will Sutton is certainly on the defensive side and Marion Grice is a running back that people are talking a lot about,” he noted. “They come into the second year of Todd Graham’s program.”

Expectations are high, as many believe the Sun Devils are in prime position to contend for — and maybe win — the Pac-12 South.

Can they? Will they?

We’ll know soon enough.