Arizona State Sun Devils 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook
Arizona State Sun Devils 2016 Preview
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The Arizona State Sun Devils look for a bounce back year in 2016 after experiencing their first losing season under head coach Todd Graham. Arizona State is a program that’s won double-digit games in two of the last three years and is capable of being a sneaky dark horse in the competitive Pac-12.
Will the Sun Devils get back on track this season?
USA TODAY Sports
Here is your 2016 Arizona State Sun Devils college football preview.
Offense: Arizona State will be a work in progress on the offensive end after losing seven starters, including quarterback Mike Bercovici and playmaker D.J. Foster. The Sun Devils also have to replace four offensive linemen with Evan Goodman being the only returning starter. The good news for the Sun Devils is that they do return 1,000-yard rusher Demario Richard, a guy who averaged more than five yards a carry and moved the chains 46 times on 210 attempts. ASU does lose a lot of depth on the outside but does return Tim White, who had eight touchdowns on 57 receptions. Kody Kohl is an experienced and proven tight end while Ellis Jefferson had three of his 12 receptions produce more than 15 yards. The success for Arizona State offensively will come down to who wins the quarterback job between Manny Wilkins, Bryce Perkins and Brady White, a trio that has a combined zero starts.
Defense: Arizona State finished third in the country in tackles for loss and sacks but allowed 337 passing yards, which was dead last in college football. You can take that how you like. Arizona State returns of lot of those pressure players including DJ Calhoun, Salamo Fiso and JoJo Wicker, which makes up a trio that racked up 15 of the team's 46 sacks. Guys such as Tashon Smallwood and Christian Sam also appear ready to take that next step after having their moments last season. While the big plays are cool and all, the Sun Devils defensive success will be determined in the secondary, and that starts with safety Viliami Moeakiola being the leader and making sure guys are in the right spots. Kareem Orr also led the Pac-12 with six interceptions as a freshman. There’s talent in place to be better on this side of the ball but only time will tell if the back end of this unit can handle being put in such stressful situations due to constant blitzing.
Special Teams: Matt Haack returns at punter after averaging 43 yards per attempt on 74 punts. Zane Gonzalez returns at kicker after making 26 of his 34 field goal attempts and all 52 extra points.
Outlook: Arizona State likely won’t be competing for a Pac-12 title due to so many new faces on offense, including four new linemen and a new quarterback. There’s also worries on the defensive side of the ball. But Arizona State shouldn’t have a problem clinching a bowl game for the sixth straight time and pushing for seven or eight wins.
Sept. 3 - vs. Northern Arizona
Sept. 10 - vs. Texas Tech
Sept. 17 - at University of Texas at San Antonio
Sept. 24 - vs. California
Oct. 1 at - USC
Oct. 8 vs. - UCLA
Oct. 15 at - Colorado
Oct. 22 vs. - Washington State
Oct. 29 at - Oregon
Nov. 5 - Bye
Nov. 10 – vs. Utah (Thursday night)
Nov. 19 – at Washington
Nov. 25 – at Arizona (Friday)