It’s difficult to predict an unknown.
For that reason, and perhaps because multiple people swung and missed last year, the Arizona State Sun Devils aren’t atop many people’s lists of teams to succeed in 2016. The media picked ASU to finish fifth in the Pac-12 South this season, and now CBS Sports Jerry Palm is predicting Arizona State will miss out on a bowl game.
That’s a bold thing to do considering multiple sub-.500 teams reached the postseason last year.
More painfully, if a Sun Devil is to believe in Palm’s projections, the analyst picked ASU’s rival, the Arizona Wildcats, to play Georgia Tech in the Independence Bowl.
Palm has a total of eight Pac-12 schools making a bowl game. Arizona State, Colorado, Cal and Oregon State are left out, while Stanford is the only team in the conference projected to make a major bowl game.
For the Sun Devils, much of the concern begins at quarterback. While Manny Wilkins and Brady White could be capable, neither has thrown a pass in college and whoever wins the starting job will be working behind a fairly fresh offensive line. Defensively, ASU is coming off a season of allowing big plays, and the secondary is the biggest question mark.
And for all the unknowns in the player personnel, it’s hard to know how far a revamped staff under head coach Todd Graham will fair.
Of course, all this means is the Sun Devils have bulletin board material.
- ASU’s challenge: Building off the Washington win
- Manny Wilkins’ growth has been key to Sun Devils’ surprising season
- ASU’s wild fourth-down conversion seals upset victory over Washington
- Fork Report: ASU pulls off remarkable upset over No. 5 Washington
- Graham: Turnover battle key to winning Pac-12 games