Sept. 22, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils defensive tackle Will Sutton (90), defensive end Davon Coleman (43), safety Alden Darby (4) and linebacker Brandon Matthew (50) celebrate after beating the Utah Utes 37-7 at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Football Preview: South No. 1 Arizona State Sun Devils

Nov 3, 2012; Corvallis, OR, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) throws the ball against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Pac-12 Season Preview Series


2. USC


4. Arizona

5. Utah

6. Colorado

2012 record: 8-5 (5-4 Pac-12)

Key returnees: TE Chris Coyle, RB DJ Foster, QB Taylor Kelly, DT Will Sutton

Key departures: P Josh Hubner, RB Cameron Marshall, WR Jamaal Miles, WR Rashad Ross

Key additions: WR Jaelen Strong (Pierce College/Philadelphia, Penn.), DL Marcus Hardison (Dodge City CC/Punta Gorda, Fla.), LB Chans Cox (Blue Ridge HS/Lakeside, Ariz.)

2012 season recap:

Coming off a season in which they lost six of their last seven games, nobody knew what to expect from the Arizona State Sun Devils in 2012. Dennis Erickson was out and Todd Graham was in; a new era had begun. It started off well, too, with a 63-6 demolishing of Northern Arizona in Week 1. That game also made it clear that Graham was changing things up in Tempe. The Sun Devils came out firing and would keep it up throughout the season, averaging 38.4 points per game – 14th in the nation.

Despite having a four-game losing streak in the middle of the season, ASU still finished 7-5 and won its bowl game convincingly. If Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Will Sutton, didn’t get injured in the first play of the Oregon game (while getting a sack and forcing a turnover, like only Sutton can) and didn’t miss the UCLA game, that’s likely one more victory to add to the Sun Devils total. They return as many starters as anyone in the Pac-12 and with a healthy squad will now look to take the Pac-12 South crown this season.

2013 season preview:

While they didn’t make it easy on themselves, scheduling Notre Dame and Wisconsin in non-conference play, the Sun Devils have their eyes set on the Rose Bowl. They return nearly every key piece from a year ago, when they went 8-5, and Coach Graham and his staff have now had a full year in Tempe under their belts.

The season should start similarly to last year, with FCS opponent Sacramento State falling victim to a Sun Devil slaughter in Week 1. After that, the Sun Devils face arguably the toughest four-game stretch of any team in the nation, when they play Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks. The “measuring stick” game for ASU will be against USC in Week 4, a team it held its own against on the road last season. If the Sun Devils can get to Week 6 sitting at least 3-2, they’ll be in prime position to make a run at the Pac-12 championship.

2013 predicted finish: 10-2 (7-2 Pac-12), Pac-12 South Champions

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