2017 Football Preview – Pac-12 – Sun Devils
Looking for 2017 Arizona State Sun Devils predictions? The Sun Devils 2016 season was one to forget. It saw them win just five games (two in conference play), which was the fewest number of victories the program had put together in a single campaign since 2009.
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- 2017-18 College Football Preview – Arizona State Sun Devils
- Head Coach: Todd Graham
- 2016 Record: 5-7
- Arizona State Sun Devils Odds to win the 2017 FBS Championship: 300-1
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If there was any hope that a poor season at least ended with some momentum, try again. This group dropped six in a row to close out 2016, and it lost seven of its last eight (it’s only victory during that stretch came in a 23-20 win over the UCLA Bruins).
2017 Arizona State Sun Devils Predictions: Team Strengths
Wide Receiver: N’Keal Harry has a chance to really make a name for himself this season. Last year, the then-freshman recorded 58 catches for a total of 659 yards and five touchdowns. He also ran the ball for 69 yards and two touchdowns on just the attempts.
More than anything else, this sophomore has an NFL-ready body to complement his skills. At 6’4″, 220 pounds, he’s going to have a physical advantage over most collegiate secondaries.
The catch, of course, will be finding consistent quarterback play to fully utilize him in the attack (more on that later).
Running Backs: This one comes with a huge asterisk. That asterisk is the offensive line (again…more on that later).
If the line can prove to be competent this season, the results will show in the running game. The Sun Devils are bringing back both Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard, who have been a two-man attack for what feels like forever. Neither is going to blow you away as an individual rusher, but together they have enough diversity,
Individually, these guys won’t make huge names for themselves on a national level. Combined, however, they can do some serious damage with their unique attacks and well-seasoned experience.
Re-energized Fan Base: We’re not crazy enough to think that something like this is going to make a huge difference once the players actually step out on the field…but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
The Sun Devils are prepared to play this season in a newly renovated stadium. That’s undoubtedly going to create a buzz among the fans that’s going to translate to pre-game energy worst—a legitimately pumped up offense and defense at best.
2017 Arizona State Sun Devils Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Quarterback Play: If you watched the Sun Devils play last season, you saw them integrate a wildcat system colloquially known as the Sparky Offense. It was fun to watch and had its big moments, but it was tossed into the system by necessity while the quarterback play proved to be largely unreliable.
This season, there will be competition for the starting spot. The hope is that the competition inspires improved play from either Manny Wilkins or anyone else. The fear is that it will look like a cluster of mediocrity.
Offensive Line: This is more of a question mark of a concern. And that’s a huge upgrade from last season.
A year ago, the O-line was largely to blame for the quarterback problems. It also made life more difficult than it needed to be for the backs.
This year, the team returns a whole heap of starters, which while slightly concerning because of what we saw in 2016 is also good because we know that a more experienced O-line is usually a better O-line.
Overall Defense: The good news here is that the Sun Devils should get decent if not strong play out of its linebackers. The concern is that the secondary is still vulnerable and last year’s D, which was the worst tackling in the country and also worst in passing defense for the second season in a row, will be implementing a new system under Phil Bennett.
A new system can’t hurt. But rarely does a team shift philosophies and find drastic success in Year 1.
Arizona State Sun Devils Prediction: 5-7
At this point, we can assume two things. For starters, this team hasn’t done enough to actually improve upon last season’s five-win slate. The other thing, however, is that the offense is still going to be good for at least five wins.
With that in mind, as well as the fact that the Sun Devils have a fairly brutal schedule (they’ll have games against three out of the top four teams in the North Division and also have to face off against the Bruins and the Utah Utes on the road), another five-win season seems right.
We also have them going 2-7 again in conference play.
2017 Arizona State Sun Devils Football Schedule
- 8/31/17 10:30 PM ET NMSU
- 9/9/17 11:00 PM ET SDSU
- 9/16/17 8:00 PM ET @TTU
- 9/23/17 TBD ORE
- 9/30/17 TBD @STAN
- 10/14/17 TBD WASH
- 10/21/17 TBD @UTAH
- 10/28/17 TBD USC
- 11/4/17 TBD COLO
- 11/11/17 TBD @UCLA
- 11/18/17 TBD @ORST
- 11/25/17 TBD ARIZ
What do you think about our 2017 Arizona State Sun Devils predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2017!
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