Analytics website predicts a long, dark season for Arizona State

Aug 15, 2017, 7:48 AM | Updated: 12:14 pm
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)...
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The first three years of the Todd Graham coaching regime at Arizona State went swimmingly.

Graham took over for Dennis Erickson in 2012 and led the Sun Devils to an 8-5 record and a win over Navy in the Fight Hunger Bowl.

The next year, ASU claimed their first Pac-12 South title, won 10 games and lost in the Holiday Bowl.

In 2014, the Devils were again in the thick of the division race until losing at Arizona in the Territorial Cup, but settled for a win over Duke in the Sun Bowl.

The last two years have, shall we say, trended downward for Graham and his program. The 2015 and 2016 seasons both ended with ASU having losing records.

The 2017 version of the Sun Devils was picked to finish fifth in their division at Pac-12 Media Day last month, finishing ahead of only Arizona in the preseason polling.

One analytics website paints a much gloomier picture for ASU. And if the projections are correct, it would lead to the worst season in Tempe since 1937.

College Football Analytics uses the Pythagorean Expectation Theorem and adjusted offensive and defensive scoring efficiencies to predict the outcome of games. The website has Arizona State beating New Mexico State in their season opener on Aug. 31 — that’s the good news. It’s also the only game sees ASU winning.

That’s right, they’ve got the Sun Devils dropping 11 straight games to end the season. After non-conference losses to San Diego State and Texas Tech, they’ve got ASU going 0-9 in Pac-12 play, and their predicted scores aren’t even that close.

The website has Oregon beating ASU by an average of 15.1 points per game, Stanford winning by 7.7, Washington by 26, Utah by 20.4, USC by 21.6, Colorado by 12 and Oregon State by 8.3. According to their projections, only two of the Devils’ last three games figure to be decided by less than a touchdown. Their Nov. 11 game at UCLA is projected to be a 4.3-point Bruins win and the annual Territorial Cup game in Tempe will be won by Arizona by 5.7 points.

ASU has never had a one-win season in its history. The 1937 team, coached by Rudy Lavik, went 0-8-1. Only twice — in 1935 and 1942 — has an Arizona State team won two games in a campaign.

Elsewhere in the conference, sees USC and Washington both completing undefeated 12-0 regular seasons before meeting up in the Pac-12 Championship Game, while they have Stanford (ranked 14th in the preseason coaches poll) going 4-8 and UCLA finishing 3-9.

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Analytics website predicts a long, dark season for Arizona State