The Arizona State University football season is quickly approaching. The Sun Devils open up the 2015 campaign on Saturday September 5, against the Texas A&M Aggies at NRG stadium, in Houston Texas. Pretty much a home game for Texas A&M since the stadium is on 100 miles away from the campus. With that said it is turning out to be a very much anticipated season for the Sun Devils.
In just three seasons under coach Todd Graham, the Arizona State Sun Devils won there first Pac 12 South Championship (2013) and they have enjoyed back to back 10 – win seasons for the first time since they did it four years in a row from 1970-1973.
The devils also have a top 25 recruiting class for a second consecutive season. They also have 16 starters returning from a team that went 10-3 with wins over Notre Dame, USC and Stanford.
ASU football program is as healthy as it has been since the great Rose Bowl Championship in 1987. That’s why an Associated Press college football writer predicted that the Sun Devils will return to the Rose Bowl this season.
The Sun Devils have some difficult games in front of them this season. But with a tougher schedule come the opportunity to climb the top-25 rankings and contend for a national championship.
There are plenty of interesting games on the schedule for 2015, but there are five that will go along way in securing the Pac 12 South and a chance to be included in the college football playoff conversation. My top five are as follows. (Three of the five will be played at Sun Devil Stadium.)
My Number 5 – At UCLA (Oct. 3)
2014 record: 10-3 (6-3 Pac 12)
One of the most lopsided home defeats. 62-27 UCLA. Will that sour taste of defeat at the hands of UCLA help propel the Devils to payback in Pasadena this October.
My Number 4 – vs. Texas A&M (Houston, September 5)
2014 record: 8-5 (3-5 SEC)
First ever matchup between the two schools in the AvcoCare Texas kickoff game. Yes it is the first game of the season, but if the Devils are going to be in the National Championship discussion in November, this is a must- win game.
My Number 3 – vs. USC (September 26)
2014 record: 9-4 (6-3 Pac 12)
The Sun Devils have won the last two meetings against USC, including last years Jael Mary victory in LA. Many experts are picking one of these two teams to win the Pac 12 South. With the Sun Devils winning this game it could give them a early upper hand in the division race. It will also give them a first ever three game winning streak over the Trojans in the process.
My Number 2 – vs. Arizona (November 21)
2014 record: 10-4 (7-2 Pac 12)
Last years meeting marked the first time since 1986 that both teams were ranked in the top 25 when they met. ASU lost a very competitive game to there rivals in Tucson. The Wildcats clinched there first Pac 12 South. This year the Sun Devils will have the home field edge this November. Todd Graham is 2-1 against Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats, and has embraced the importance of this game unlike any ASU head coach since Frank Kush, who went 16-5 against the Cats from 1958-78. Sun Devils Win this one.
My Number 1 – vs. Oregon (October 29)
2014 record: 13-2 (8-1 Pac 12)
The Devils and the Ducks last met three years ago. Ducks winning 43-21 in Tempe. The Ducks have won eight straight against the Sun Devils. It is time to turn that around. The big question for the Ducks this year will who will replace Marcus Mariota. What we do know is that the up-temp Ducks still have speed to spare on offense, including Freeman, who was last years Pac 12 Freshman offensive player of the year. As long as both teams live up to expectations, the atmosphere for this matchup should be electric in front of a national ESPN audience, and it could very well be a preview of the 2015 Pac 12 Championship game. It is time for the Sun Devils to finally prevail.
It looks to be a very exciting year for Sun Devil Football. We can only hope that they will continue to build on the success that they have had over the last three years under coach Todd Graham. I think the Sun Devils are ready to take some major steps in there climb for national recognition. Go Devils.