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2021 Arizona State Sun Devils: Overrated or Legit?
Arizona Republic

2021 Arizona State Sun Devils: Overrated or Legit?

There are a lot of pundits who have the Sun Devils winning the Pac-12 South division. I’m not entirely sure why, even though they return 18 starters and have a decent schedule. In 2020, they only played four games, winning two, against Arizona and Oregon State, who aren’t exactly royalty. Coach Herm Edwards is likable for sure but he has a big mouth and gets publicity for his team because the media loves him. But how good a coach is he? I’m not sure we know. He is 17-13 in his three years in Tempe and his teams have blown several games. I can’t see them winning the Pac-12.

Offense: Sophomore QB, Jayden Daniels returns and he has been good in his first two seasons. He takes care of the ball as he has thrown only three interceptions in 422 attempts. He also is a good runner. The offense has been based on the run and there will be more expected from him in the passing game this year. There are two great returning running backs in Rachaad White and Chip Trayanum. They combined for 178 yards per game and scored nine touchdowns. They lost a good receiver in sixth-round draft pick Frank Darby. There are capable replacements but they are unproven. The offensive line returns four starters and the coaches have little to worry about with them.

Defense: All 11 starters return and they have to prove they can hold on and close-out games if they are going to ascend to the next level. CB Chase Lucas and DE Tyler Johnson were second team All-Pac 12 players last season. All of the leading tacklers are back with Evan Fields and Kyle Soelle leading the way. LB Merlin Robertson is a great linebacker. This defense is talented and should play better than what they have.

Non-Conference Schedule:

9/2 Southern Utah

9/11 UNLV

9/18 at BYU

Two easy games and one toughie make up the non-con schedule. Obviously, the game at BYU will be tough and Arizona State will have to play better than they have in the past.

Conference Schedule:

9/25 Colorado

10/2 at UCLA

10/8 Stanford

10/16 at Utah

10/30 Washington State

11/6 USC

11/13 at Washington

11/20 at Oregon State

11/27 Arizona

The schedule includes five home games with gimmes against Washington State and Arizona. Colorado is a game they have to win also. The key games are Stanford and USC and they have had trouble beating the Trojans in Tempe. They have to win at UCLA and Oregon State and the season will be good or great depending on if they can win at Utah and Washington.

Summary: There are lofty expectations in Tempe for a team that hasn’t done much recently. The schedule isn’t easy and to make matters worse, the Sun Devils always lose a game or two they shouldn’t. I just think they are rated too high.

Predicted Finish: 3rd in the Pac-12 South

Overall Record: 8-4

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