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2013 Arizona State

College Football

Preview

Schedule and Odds

The Sun Devils are set to improve once again and are being looked at by some people as a Top 25 squad. With studs returning on both sides of the ball, there’s no reason to argue that except that they couldn’t beat any team of relevance last season. They had eight wins in 2012, but their best win was at Arizona who finished 4-5 in conference play.

Those results from a year ago explain why the Sun Devils are middle of the pack as far as the odds to win the PAC-12 are concerned. Currently they are listed at odds of 7 to 1 at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.

The return of quarterback Taylor Kelly and running backs Marion Grice and D.J. Foster are going to go a long way for a unit that scored over 38 points per game last year. Arizona State will cause even more problems for opponents now that Kelly has a year under his belt. He completed 67 percent of his passes last season. Grice finished with 19 total TDs out of the backfield. A couple transfers will be Kelly’s top wide receiver options, but like last year, that will be an area that requires help as tight end Chris Coyle led the team in receptions (57) and yards (696). The line returns three starters and should be just fine.

Their defense had solid numbers overall (24.3 points per game allowed), but couldn’t come up in bigger situations, such as in losses to Missouri, UCLA and Oregon State. With eight returning starters and some NFL talent to go around, this unit could propel ASU to double-digit wins. Tackle Will Sutton and safety Alden Darby are all-conference talents that make a difference. Linebacker Carl Bradford is also a nice player coming off the edge. Head coach Todd Graham is in his second season and his main goal is to get this defense at the top of its game. Year two should be better under him.

2013 Arizona State Football Schedule

Sept. 5 vs. Sacramento State 
Sept. 14 vs. Wisconsin 
Sept. 21 at Stanford 
Sept. 28 vs. USC 
Oct. 5 vs. Notre Dame (Arlington) 
Oct. 12 vs. Colorado 
Oct. 19 vs. Washington 
Oct. 31 at Washington State 
Nov. 9 at Utah 
Nov. 16 vs. Oregon State 
Nov. 23 at UCLA 
Nov. 30 vs. Arizona

After Sacramento State, the Sun Devils have a very difficult schedule on the surface. In reality, it could be a lot worse. They’ll get Wisconsin and USC at home which they need to get at least one win out of. Keeping close at Stanford will be key to keep their spirits high early in the season. The matchup with Notre Dame at Cowboys Stadium is less daunting now with Everett Golson out of the picture. Still, the Irish have one of the nation’s top defenses.

From there, a couple home games against winnable opponents await, but Washington will be a tricky task. Those two are followed by two weaker opponents in Washington State and Utah. The final three games of the season could determine if the Sun Devils can make it in the Top 25 or not.

They have the ability to beat both Oregon State and Arizona at home, especially if their defense can make that small improvement and pick up its run defense. A road game at UCLA will be tough, but the Bruins aren’t untouchable, especially if Kelly is throwing well.

Arizona State has a lot of upside and if they get past their early schedule, a very good season could be in sight. They need to hold their own against top opponents which we’ll find out soon enough in the first few weeks. Nine wins is a good estimate for this squad as long as they make the expected gains.


 

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