2018 Arizona State Sun Devils Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 7-6
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 4.5*
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Under'
I will be honest: I have no idea what the hell Arizona State is doing.
I understand that they had to pull the plug on the failed Todd Graham experiment. But Herm Edwards? Seriously? Edwards has never coached at the college level before. And he wasn't all that good as an NFL coach, a position he hasn't held in a decade. In the meantime, Edwards found a niche for himself as Crotchety Old Person Yelling At People On TV While Wearing Funny Socks.
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I know I'm not the first person to make this prediction, but I don't think this is going to go very well at all.
Edwards takes over a team that has some top-to-bottom experience and a little bit of top-end talent, led by receiver N'Keal Harry. The Sun Devils have only 10 total starters returning from last year's squad. And it will be interesting to see how Edwards works with a crop of players that he didn't have a hand in recruiting or selecting.
Manny Wilkins is a three-year starter at quarterback. And if Arizona State is going to do anything this year it will be on his shoulders to build on last year's solid season and take that next step to play among the Pac-12's best quarterbacks. Wilkins threw for 3,270 yards while completing 63.4 percent of his passes. He also put together 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Wilkins has his top four receivers back, including a future pro in Harry. The Sun Devils did lose their top rushing duo and three starters on the offensive line. And while Edwards will likely institute some more pro-style sets into the offense, he retained Rob Likens from Graham's staff and Likens is now serving as the offensive coordinator. His familiarity with the players and some consistency in the offensive scheme should pay off.
Edwards gutted the defensive coaching staff. He brought in the DC from San Diego State, and there will be much more of a focus on stopping the run from this group. They have a completely rebuilt front six (their base defense will be a nickel). And the defense will lean on three returning starters from a secondary that was ranked No. 120 in the country last year in pass defense.
We are going to find out a lot about Arizona State in Week 2 when they host a Top 15 Michigan State team out in Tempe. That could either go really, really well or really, really poorly. They will try to avoid a letdown the following two weeks when they travel to San Diego State and then to Pac-12 favorite Washington.
Arizona State may be favored in only three games this year. They host UT-San Antonio in the opener, Oregon State, Utah and UCLA. But if they can't beat SDSU then I don't think there is any way that they can get to five wins.
It's tough to bet against a team with a one-two combo like Wilkins-to-Harry. But until I see any indication that Edwards has any idea what he's doing, I'm absolutely betting against this group.
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