Ranking ASU football opponents by order of difficulty

Ranking ASU football opponents by order of difficulty

(Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

Almost a year removed from Arizona State’s inclusion in the preseason AP Top 25 Poll, fifth-year head coach Herm Edwards Finds his team in a much different position with two new coordinators and a bevy of roster additions who will be immediately relied on.

In offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas’ first year in Tempe and Donnie Henderson’s debut season as defensive coordinator after he served as interim secondary coach last season, transfers are primed to shape the production at many of ASU’s positions this season after it lost more than two-thirds of its starters from last season and a number of others who would have been starters or top backups.

Thought junior Florida transfer Emory Jones and sophomore Alabama transfer Paul Tyson were much-needed pickups following Jayden Daniels’ departure to LSU, Thomas is faced with the challenge of familiarizing a newcomer for the starting quarterback job while also attempting to reconcile a thin, six-deep wide receiver corps that has only welcomed junior Vanderbilt transfer cam Johnson following the loss of Ricky Pearsall and LV Bunkley-Sheltonits two top performers from a season ago, along with several others at the position.

Henderson has similarly sized holes to fill, including the team’s entire starting secondary from last season — a senior-only group that was among the most experienced in the country. Cornerback Timarcus Davisthe Sun Devils’ only returning upperclassmen at the position, is expected to take one of the starting roles after being Chase Lucas and Jack Jones’ top backup over the past two seasons while the Division I resumes of senior Hawaii transfer Khoury Bethley and Samford junior transfer Chris Edmonds Make them favorable options to replace safeties Evan Fields and DeAndre Pierce.

Making for an even greater challenge, the rapport needed among such newcomers at what appears to be ASU’s most questionable position groups on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball must be expedited because of its front-loaded schedule.

In a new conference format that does not include divisions, reigning Pac-12 Champion Utah and the country’s No. 1 ranked transfer portal team, USC, are the Sun Devils’ first Pac-12 opponents after they play a slate of three non-conference games headlined by a matchup with last season’s Big 12 runner-up, Oklahoma State.

Here’s a look at ASU’s scheduled opponents for this season ranked from the easiest to toughest, as assessed by Sun Devil Source.

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