Arizona State Faces Make or Break Year

Arizona State Football

Arizona State Faces Make or Break Year

Coach Dennis Erickson was supposed to come in and change the culture at Arizona State. The talent has been there, the expectations have certainly been there, but the wins have been harder to come by. In his four years with the Sun Devils, Coach Erickson has just a 25-23 overall record. In conference play he is just 17-19 and 10-17 in the last three years. That does not sit well for any team.

We have been down this road before, but this looks like it should be the year that Arizona State takes the next step and goes from a team that falls short of a bowl appearance to a team that can compete for a conference title.

First of all, this is a pretty good, experienced team. Year two under the new offense should help things run smoothly as long as 6-8 quarterback Brock Osweiler is ready to run the show. He showed his vast potential at the end of the 2010 campaign and he has plenty of talented receivers to help him out. On the other side of the ball, linebacker Vontaze Burfict is already garnering plenty of Defensive Player of the Year buzz. College Sports Madness did name him the preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

But good players are not the only reason why Arizona State will make a run at the conference crown. The fact that the Pac-10 is now the Pac-12 will benefit this team immensely. A successful season is now getting to the Pac-12 conference championship game. The Sun Devils are in the South division along with Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, USC and Utah. That does not sound too bad. And to make things even better, USC is ineligible to play in the Pac-12 championship game. So that leaves Utah as the Sun Devils biggest competition for reaching the conference championship game.

Arizona State did load up on the non-conference games, facing Braggin’ Rights sparring partners Missouri and Illinois in back-to-back weeks, but the conference slate could be worse. They avoid Stanford, which is always nice…well at least recently. They also travel to Oregon, which would probably result in a loss no matter where it was played. The overall record may not be anything too special, but Arizona State has a nice path to the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game as long as they can take care of business against fellow South division teams. Then they are just an upset away from going to the Rose Bowl.

 Read the in-depth football preview for Arizona State