By: Charles Wulf
Week 1: 8/28 Weber State
Look at this game like a warm up. The starters should be out by half way through the third quarter. However, the Sun Devils don’t want to be on the list of FBS programs that lose to FCS teams in the first weekend.
Week 2: 9/6 @ New Mexico
Having only won two games last season, New Mexico State isn’t scaring anyone. This should be another easy game for the Devils.
Week 3: 9/13 @ Colorado
A solid first conference game for ASU. A win against Colorado should have the Devils at 3-0 entering the toughest stretch of their schedule. By this time Graham and Norvell should have a pretty good idea of what this team’s strengths and weaknesses are. The Devils should work out the kinks in the first three weeks and be prepared to take on the rest of their grueling schedule.
Week 4: 9/20 Bye
If there is one positive aspect of the 6-week stretch from 9/20-10/25 it’s the timing of ASU’s bye weeks. Having an off week to prepare for UCLA is great for the Devils. Graham definitely won’t pass up on an extra week to prepare for Brett Hundley.
Week 5: 9/25 9/20 UCLA
A rematch of the game that has decided the Pac-12 South the past two years. Brett Hundley, Miles Jack, and co. will be looking for revenge after ASU took last year’s game in the Rose Bowl. The Devils played extremely well at home last season and that trend should continue but I don’t think the Devils’ defense will be ready for this level of opponent this early in the season.
Week 6: 10/4 @ USC
After last year’s meeting, USC fired head coach Lane Kiffin so Steve Sarkisian basically owes his new job to ASU, right? On a serious note, this will be a very tough game for ASU as they travel into So Cal to try and take down the Trojans in back to back seasons. I think if they can score enough points they can beat USC again.
Week 7: 10/11 Bye
Once again a great time for an off week. The Devils get a break after two tough games against UCLA and USC and they have extra time to prepare for a Stanford team that beat them twice last season.
Week 8: 10/18 Stanford
This is the toughest game on ASU’s schedule. Last year the Devils lost to the Cardinal twice, and both times they looked out-sized and out-matched. I just don’t think the Sun Devils are ready to beat a big physical team like Stanford.
Week 9: 10/25 @ Washington
Last year the Sun Devils probably played their best overall game against the Huskies. The Huskies have lost quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey and they have a new head coach, Chris Petersen. Washington is a tough place to play but the Devils can definitely beat this team.
Week 10: 11/1 Utah
This game was close last year but this year it won’t be. Utah gave several teams trouble in Salt Lake City last season but in Tempe they’ll be outmatched against a powerful ASU offense. The Utes just don’t have the firepower to pull off the upset.
Week 11: 11/8 Notre Dame
This is a game that everyone has circled. Last year the Devils probably should have beaten the Irish but turnovers killed their chances. Notre Dame lost some starters to the NFL but they should still be a very tough test for ASU.
Week 12: 11/15 @ Oregon State
Two loaded offenses going head to head, what’s not to like? The Devils defense, that’s what. The big question surrounding the entire season is how good can the defense be? This question should have a final answer in how the Devils handle the high flying Beaver attack. I think the Devils will win a close, high-scoring game in Corvallis.
Week 13: 11/22 Washington State
Another pass-heavy offense. ASU did a good job last year in Pullman on Halloween and they should be able to handle the Cougars again this season.
Week 14: 11/28 @ Arizona
If you ask the fans, this is the game that matters. After last year’s shellacking the Wildcats are desperate for revenge. However, they probably won’t get it. U of A has too many holes and the Sun Devil offense is too strong. ASU makes it three in a row against that team down south.
Pac-12 Championship: 12/5 TBD
Can ASU get to back-to-back Pac-12 Championships?