Football: Pac-10 ballot — No. 7

No. 7: Arizona State. Prognosticators got a little excited last year after the Sun Devils 10-3 season in 2007, but a further look reveals that ASU’s successful year was enhanced by a very manageable schedule. The Sun Devils were served a dose of reality last season, finishing 5-7 and missing out on a bowl game. One good thing for ASU is that recruits got excited over the 2007 season and the Sun Devils brought in a top-20 recruiting class. But last year’s slide hurt recruiting, and although ASU secured one of the nation’s top recruits in linebacker Vontaze Burfict, the class was a step down from the previous year. The talent just isn’t in the program right now for the Sun Devils to make a push for an upper division finish. They will be breaking in a new quarterback and don’t have a top-level running back. The receivers lack playmaking ability and the offensive line is questionable. Mike Nixon is a pretty good linebacker and if Burfict plays right away, ASU could be strong at that position. Dexter Davis is one of the nation’s top defensive ends, so the Sun Devils could potentially have a pretty good defense. They will need it to finish higher in the Pac-10.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • iamalcindor

    not a bad choice. but pucla should finish below ASUck

  • AERose

    Picking Arizona State, a team that has virtually no offensive prospects, over it’s rival Arizona is borderline incomprehensible. Arizona has more quality depth in the offensive line (meaning that unlike ASU’s inexperienced quarterback, Arizona’s inexperienced quarterback is actually going to get some semblance of pass protection) and has much better running backs in addition to having solid depth at receiver. Arizona State might have a better defense but that won’t help them win games if they can’t score any points.

    I think you’ve underestimated Arizona in general but this just happens to be a particularly galling example.

  • Jan K Oski

    I disagree AERose. Many experts think ASU could have one of the top 3 defenses in the league. Defense is going to pay big dividends in this league as it always does at every level of football. Zona might have a slight advantage on offense, but that’s half the game… And, what’s one spot in the preseason rankings? You’re splitting hairs in my opinion.

    Go BEARS!

  • Jethro

    ASU will finish ahead of UCLA and Az and will battle Stanfurd for the 5th spot in the Pac 10. ASU gets Az at home this year and will beat both Washington schools for 3 wins. They will beat either Cal, USC, or Oregon State at home and/or Stanfurd or UCLA on the road for 4 or 5 wins.

    I think Stanfurd gets the 5th spot because they will probably beat ASU in Palo Alto. It all about home field versus your closest rival.

    So the order will be:

    USC (will lose to either Cal or Oregon on the road)
    Oregon (gets Cal at home; also USC and Oregon St at home)
    Cal (gets Oregon State at home)
    Oregon State (gets Stanfurd at home)
    Stanfurd (gets ASU at home)
    ASU (gets Az at home)
    Az (gets UCLA at home)
    UCLA (gets Wash at home)
    Wash (gets Wash St at home)
    Wash St

  • AERose

    I don’t think Arizona should be just one spot higher, but this was the easiest comparison to make. I also think you’re underrating how much of a disaster Arizona State’s offense will be. Their quarterback will get better protection than Rudy Carpenter, but that only ensures that he won’t keel over and die at any point during the season and not a lot more. Of the four incoming quarterbacks in the conference’s bottom 6, I give Scott or Foles (whichever one starts) the best chance with Luck of not spending their time getting chased all over the field.