ASU, Arizona football rank near bottom of Pac-12 preseason media poll
The Pac-12 Conference preseason media poll for football was released on Thursday.
Arizona State and Arizona found themselves near the bottom of the barrel at No. 10 and No. 11, respectively.
Despite the conference going away from the North and South divisions in favor of the top two teams with the highest winning percentages facing off in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game, the poll is predicting Utah to repeat as champions over Oregon.
The Sun Devils and Wildcats will go into the 2022 season trying to prove the doubters wrong, with the two programs’ currently on different trajectories for very different reasons.
Arizona State Sun Devils
Following a tumultuous offseason filled with roster turnover and uneasiness, the Arizona State football program finds itself in unfamiliar territory.
The Sun Devils endured an NCAA investigation coaching scandal that led to three assistant coaches being dismissed from the program due to the coaches participating in impermissible local meetings with recruits.
Former Arizona State defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator Antonio Pierce, as well as former offensive coordinator Zak Hill both resigned as part of the total of five coaches who are no longer with the program.
Entering the season with low expectations, a plethora of former Sun Devils from 2021 are no longer on the team due to the transfer portal and NFL Draft.
ASU lost quarterback Jayden Daniels (LSU), defensive tackle Jermayne Lole (Louisville), offensive lineman Ezra Dotson-Oyetade (TCU), wide receiver LV Bunkley-Shelton (Oklahoma), linebacker Eric Gentry (USC), running back DeaMonte Trayanum (Ohio State), wide receiver Johnny Wilson (Florida State), defensive back Tommi Hill (Nebraska), wide receiver Geordan Porter (New Mexico), wide receiver Lonyatta Alexander (Washington), linebacker Jordan Banks (Northwestern State) and wide receiver Ricky Pearsall (Florida) all to the transfer portal this past offseason.
However, there are a good amount of returning starters from last season that the Sun Devils will bring back.
Those returners include fifth-year senior linebackers Merlin Robertson and Kyle Soelle, fifth-year senior cornerback Timarcus Davis, redshirt junior corner Jordan Clark and graduate wide receiver Bryan Thompson.
Arizona State also brought in former Florida quarterback Emory Jones, who threw for 2,743 yards while throwing 19 touchdowns to 13 interceptions last season as a Gator.
After a 1-11 (1-8) season in head coach Jedd Fisch’s first season, the Arizona Wildcats will look to put last year behind them in hopes of gaining respect among their Pac-12 counterparts.
Despite the uncharacteristic year they endured last season, there is still a good amount of returning talent on the roster.
The Wildcats currently have three players named to the 2022 Preseason All-Pac-12 Conference Teams.
Those players include punter Kyle Ostendorp (first team), wide receiver Jacob Cowling (second team) and defensive lineman Kyon Barrs (second team).
Arizona also brought in transfer quarterback Jayden de Laura from Washington State this offseason.
For the Cougars last year, de Laura threw for 2,798 passing yards while tossing 23 touchdowns to nine interceptions.