Predicting Arizona State football’s 2022 schedule, game by game

Aug 29, 2022, 7:34 AM
Defensive back Jordan Clark #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates with the Territorial Cup ...
Defensive back Jordan Clark #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates with the Territorial Cup after defeating the Arizona Wildcats at Sun Devil Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Tempe, Arizona. The Sun Devils defeated the Wildcats 38-15. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Expectations are low for the Arizona State Sun Devils going into the 2022 college football season.

FanDuel Sportsbook has ASU’s win total at 5.5 — which is under the six-win bowl eligible mark — and some around the country have the team finishing below that mark.

I believe the head coach Herm Edwards will extend his streak to five consecutive seasons of .500-plus ball, but not by much.

Of the 12 games, I see four as sure wins, four as losses and four that could go either way — which when push came to shove I split 2-2 — to give the Sun Devils a 6-6 record and eligibility come bowl season. But as we’ve grown accustomed to with ASU, there will probably be both a surprise win and loss in there somewhere.

So, with my floor at 4-8 and ceiling at 8-4, let’s take a look at Arizona State’s schedule, game by game:

Sept. 1 vs. Northern Arizona — WIN (1-0)

NAU shouldn’t be taken lightly given the Lumberjacks’ victory over Arizona in Tucson last year and the fact this will be the first game ASU’s 43 new players play together. But given the talent advantages that the Sun Devils have over the Lumberjacks, plus it being the home opener in Tempe, Arizona State should cruise to a blowout victory.

Sept. 10 at No. 12 Oklahoma State — LOSS (1-1)

This is going to be a tough game for ASU. With Stillwater’s average high of 90 degrees and 40% humidity in early September, it’ll probably be a hot and muggy 6:30 p.m. kickoff (4:30 Arizona time). And then there’s the No. 12-ranked Cowboys football team that will be looking to make a College Football Playoff run after defeating Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl to end last season. Nothing bodes well for ASU in this contest, as OSU is more talented, head coach Mike Gundy is in his 17th year at the helm and Boone Pickens Stadium should be raucous and rowdy for the national TV matchup.

Sept. 17 vs. Eastern Michigan — WIN (2-1)

Coming off a loss, Arizona State will be motivated to rebound ahead of conference play, with Edwards saying the first three games will indicate what type of team the 2022 Sun Devils are. You can’t take any opponents lightly in football, but Arizona State won’t want to get upset at home by a non-Power Five program. However, I think this will also be the last time the Sun Devils are above .500 for the season.

Sept. 24 vs. No. 7 Utah — LOSS (2-2)

Albeit at home, this is ASU’s toughest matchup all year. Last season’s second-half collapse against the Utes, where the Sun Devils were outscored 28-0 after going ahead 21-7 at half, will give the Sun Devils plenty of reasons to be locked in. But Cameron Rising has proven he is a legitimate star college quarterback, and Utah has always been known for its ground game, defense and special teams under head coach Kyle Whittingham’s 17-year tenure. The Utes also aren’t ranked No. 7 in the AP Preseason Top 25 Poll for no reason and could sneak up a spot or two by the time they play Arizona State if they can handle Florida, Southern Utah and San Diego State before facing the Sun Devils.

Oct. 1 at No. 14 USC — LOSS (2-3)

This will be the last time ASU visits the L.A. Coliseum with No. 14 USC still a member of the Pac-12 Conference before it moves to the Big Ten in 2024. After roughly a decade-plus of the Trojans trying to recapture what they had with Pete Carroll, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, it looks like they could very well be trending back toward national powerhouse. With the likes of Lincoln Riley as head coach, Oklahoma transfer quarterback Caleb Williams under center and a re-energized L.A. Coliseum, I think there are just too many factors for Arizona State to overcome in this contest.

Oct. 8 vs. Washington — WIN? (3-3)

This is my first “who knows?” game of the season. Coming off of back-to-back losses to two very good football teams, ASU should be in good shape when the Huskies come to Tempe. The Sun Devils were able to pull off a 35-30 win last season in Seattle after a three-year hiatus between the two teams. And despite Arizona State being 2-2 against Washington since 2016, it’s 12-2 since 2002, with the last loss in Tempe coming in 2001. The Huskies are rebuilding under former Fresno State coach Kalen DeBoer after a 4-8 season in 2021 ended Jimmy Lake’s tenure.

Oct. 22 at Stanford — LOSS? (3-4)

This is the second of my “who knows?” games and the first of back-to-back road games for the Sun Devils. Because of the bye week that allows ASU extra time to prepare, it might be able to pull off a victory in this one. But because I don’t believe Arizona State will win two road games in a row, I’ll give a slight edge to the Cardinal, but just barely.

Oct. 29 at Colorado — WIN (4-4)

This one could go either way. ASU’s last victory in Boulder came in 2014 when former head coach Todd Graham was still in charge. However, I just think Colorado is a really bad football team and this contest falls under one of my four minimum wins for the season.

Nov. 5 vs. UCLA — LOSS (4-5)

This will be the final time the Bruins come into Tempe as a member of the Pac-12. That being said, the future is bright for UCLA as the school is headed to the Big Ten. Chip Kelly is also in his fifth year as head coach and the football team is continuing to get better, even garnering two votes in the AP Preseason Top 25 Poll. Given the beatdown the Sun Devils gave the Bruins at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena last year (42-23), I think UCLA will get its revenge in Tempe this season.

Nov. 12 at Washington State — LOSS? (4-6)

A cold, wet, rainy pacific northwest game in November usually doesn’t bode well for the Sun Devils, which is exactly why this is my third “who knows?” game of the year. That, and it’s difficult to predict what type of football team the 2022 Cougars will be after head coach Jake Dickert took over as interim last year and went 3-3. If the weather isn’t a factor, ASU has the ability to pull a victory out in Pullman against a WSU squad that stole a win in Tempe last season.

Nov. 19 vs. Oregon State — WIN? (5-6)

The Beavers fall under the same aforementioned Pacific Northwest home category as the Cougars, as OSU and ASU have traditionally won when at home — although not always. With this being my last in the category of toss-up games, I’m giving Arizona State a win at home over Oregon State. The Sun Devils have a 19-1 record in Tempe against the Beavers since 1969, with the last home loss coming in 2009.

Nov. 25 at Arizona — WIN (6-6)

The Territorial Cup — and any rivalry game for that matter — should never be taken lightly, especially on the road. And although the Wildcats brought in Washington State transfer quarterback Jayden de Laura, along with a pretty impressive recruiting class, this was still a 1-11 football team that lost at home to NAU last year. ASU will have the confidence to pull off a victory in Tucson as the Sun Devils come in on a five-game winning streak over the Wildcats. Not to mention the motivation the team will have with the rivalry game deciding if it is bowl eligible or not.

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