Over/Under 5 Wins () vs Arizona State Sun Devils ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : First Game: UTSA Roadrunners @ Arizona State Sun Devils 10:30 PM
Location : Sun Devil Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 5 Wins vs Arizona State Sun Devils
Like their in-state rivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils have hit the reset button with their coaching staff as they fired Todd Graham and hired NFL coaching legend in Herm Edwards. Graham gradually declined towards the end of his tenure after starting his first 3 seasons off with a 28-12 record but he was consistent in getting this team to the postseason as the Sun Devils made a bowl game in 5 of the 6 years Graham was the head guy. The hiring of Herm Edwards was an interesting one considering the former ESPN analyst has been out of a coaching job since 2008 and more specifically out of the college ranks since 1989. Herm Edwards will inherit an offense who returns playmakers at every position but they will need to be much better in protecting the quarterback after letting up 3.2 sacks per game last season. The Sun Devils need to approve on the defensive side of the ball as they ranked 104th in point per game but they have the right guy to center their scheme around as Edwards will employ a 3-3-5. As good of a coach Herm Edwards was on the NFL level he will have to experience a whole new ball game in college with the recruiting battles he will face against opposing Pac-12 teams. Edwards wasn’t hired until December 3rd which put him behind the eight ball as he could not get gain traction in finding guys he wanted. Edwards inherited most of Graham’s recruiting pieces which translated into the 6th ranked team in the Pac-12 with only two 4-star recruits signed but both could play a role on the defensive side of the ball early on in their career.
Over/Under 5 Wins's Latest Performance :
The Arizona State Sun Devils were able to end the 2017 regular season at the 7-5 mark but they got embarrassed in their bowl game as they lost to NC State 52-31. The offense should be as dynamic as ever but the defense will need time to adjust under their new coordinator Danny Gonzales as he brings an unconventional scheme in the 3-3-5. Oddsmakers aren’t too confident that Herm Edwards will be able to adopt the college football ways in his first season as oddsmakers have set the over/under at 5 wins.
The Arizona State Sun Devils want nothing more than an easy transition from the Todd Graham era to the Herm Edwards saga but that may not come easy as they will have to face a tough schedule. The non-conference schedule won’t do Arizona State any justice as after their matchup against UTSA the Sun Devils will host Michigan State as well as travel to San Diego State (combined record of 20-6 in ’17). The Pac-12 portion of their schedule will do the Sun Devils no good either as they will have to travel to 3 of the best conference teams as they will see Washington, USC, and Oregon all on the road. On top of those games, Arizona State will cap off their schedule with a road matchup against their in-state rivals in the Arizona Wildcats. If the Sun Devils want to make headlines in Edwards first season it may have to come on 10/18 when they will host Stanford in a short week for their foe but luckily for Arizona State, they should be well rested given a bye week.
Arizona State Sun Devils 's Latest Performance :
Arizona State was solid on the offensive side of the ball last season as they put up 31.8 PPG and the offense should take another step forward in 2018 with the return of their star QB in Manny Wilkins. 5th year senior Manny Wilkins threw for 3,270 yards and 20 TDs last season and with the departure of Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen from their respective schools Wilkins could take over the reigns as the top QB in the Pac-12. The offense that the Sun Devils run also allows Wilkins to be effective on the ground and we saw that last year as he was 2nd on the team with 7 rushing TDs. Wilkins will be surrounded by his top target from 2017 in N’Keal Harry who led the team as a sophomore with 1,142 yards and 8 TDs and the 6’4 target has an opportunity to replicate those numbers in what could be an All-American season. Opposite of Harry the option isn’t too bad either as Kyle Williams compiled 763 yards and 7 TDs as a sophomore last season. The one knock to the Sun Devils offense is the fact they lost their top two running backs in Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage after they combined for 1,696 yards and 18 TDs last year but there is still talent at the position with former 4-star recruit Eno Benjamin taking on a bigger role in his sophomore season. The offensive line was a mess last season as they gave up a ton of sacks but things should look up for that unit as they return 4 starters as well as Stanford grad transfer Casey Tucker. The defense will need to improve if they want a shot at competing in the Pac-12 South and they will have some key pieces returning back to Tempe. Chase Lucas was the lone freshmen to make an All-Pac 12 team which is understandable after the corner compiled 59 tackles, 2 interceptions, and a team-high 8 pass deflections. Lucas will be joined by Kobe Williams who was solid on his side of the defense as the junior picked off 1 pass and added an additional 5 pass deflections. The linebacker unit will be thin this season especially with the loss of their leader Christian Sam but there is still star potential in former tight end Jay Jay Wilson and 4-star signee Merlin Robertson. The defensive line doesn’t return much depth outside of their NFL DT prospect in Renell Wren but they did receive a solid transfer with Ohio State DE Darius Slade being eligible this season for the Sun Devils.
Player To Watch
N’Keal Harry, WR, Jr.
This isn’t necessarily a breakout player to watch but more so a potential first-round pick as given a good year N’Keal Harry could find himself as the top of many team draft boards. Harry was studied by Pro Football Focus and they listed him as one of the top route runners in college football as he wasn’t only a deep threat but also dangerous in routes less than 5 yards. Harry is a physical specimen as he stands at 6’4 which gives him the advantage on jump balls and given another year in the air-raid offense we could see the veteran push 1,500 yards. Expect a breakout year from the Arizona native as him and Wilkins could be one of the best duos in college football.
How Over/Under 5 Wins & Arizona State Sun Devils Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 5 Wins -120
Under 5 Wins – Even
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- UTSA- W
9/8- Michigan State- L
9/15- @ San Diego State- L
9/22- @ Washington- L
9/29- Oregon State- W
10/6- @ Colorado- W
10/18- Stanford- L
10/27- @ USC- L
11/3- Utah- W
11/10- UCLA- L
11/17- @ Oregon- L
11/24- @ Arizona- L
Overall Record: 4-8
Against The Spread Selection: Under 5 Wins - Even
My reason for the pick :
There is an old saying that you take 1 step back before taking 2 steps forward and that will be the case for the Arizona State Sun Devils in Herm Edwards first season as the head man. The reason that I will be selecting the Sun Devils to go under the 5 win total is because I simply haven’t built enough trust in Edwards being bowl eligible in his first season as a coach in 10 years, and not to mention he has yet to be a head coach at the collegiate level. The offense should be dynamic and there is no denying that but what will happen on the other side of the ball is what truly concerns me. The 3-3-5 defense allows the defense to play a ton of guys in the secondary which is their strong suit but the run might shred the Sun Devils as they are thin at both the linebacker and defensive line spots which could prove to be pivotal. There is no doubt in my mind that Arizona State could eventually climb back towards the top of the Pac-12 South but the time isn’t upon us just yet as the conference will be top heavy once again. Ride Arizona State under the 5 win total.