Everything was going just swimmingly in 2021, Herm Edwards’ fourth season as Arizona State head coach … until it wasn’t.
The Sun Devils were 5-1 heading into a pivotal matchup with Utah but ended up dropping that game and going just 3-4 to end the season. The looming NCAA investigation into the program’s recruiting misconduct has led to a tumultuous offseason in Tempe. Edwards is back, for now, but gone are defensive coordinator Antonio Pearce and offensive coordinator Zak Hill to resignations, and Arizona State is buried in Pac-12 Championship odds in college football betting.
The Sun Devils saw 17 players leave via the transfer portal including key contributors like quarterback Jayden Daniels. The team returns just eight total starters. Is the schedule forgiving enough to ease the pain of the mass exodus away from this program? Or will the college football hot seat get the best of Edwards?
Here’s a look at Arizona State’s schedule with dates, times, opponents, and analysis:
Week 1 – vs. Northern Arizona Lumberjacks
Date: September 1
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
At first glance, this looks like a walk in the park, but the Lumberjacks beat a Pac-12 team last year in a 21-19 upset of Arizona. The Sun Devils need to get the season rolling with a convincing win.
Week 2 – at Oklahoma State Cowboys
Date: September 10
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Mike Gundy loses a lot from a team that fell just short in the Big 12 Championship Game a year ago, returning only 11 starters overall and four to what was a fearsome defense in 2021. Perhaps the biggest loss is defensive coordinator Jim Knowles to Ohio State. Still, this is a very difficult road game.
Week 3 – at Eastern Michigan Eagles
Date: September 17
Time: 11:00 p.m. ET
Chris Creighton continues to reload solid MAC teams at EMU, but ASU should handle business in this spot. It’s a potential trap game with difficult opponents in Week 2 and Week 4.
Week 4 – vs. Utah Utes
Date: September 24
The Utes won their first Pac-12 Championship in 2021 and will look to build on that performance led by a very efficient offense. This is the time to catch Utah, as they’re typically better as the season wears on.
Week 5 – at USC Trojans
Date: October 1
The Trojans are a totally remade team in 2022 with the additions of head coach Lincoln Riley and quarterback Caleb Williams from Oklahoma. Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison joins the fold for what should be a high-powered offense.
Week 6 – vs. Washington Huskies
Date: October 8
The Huskies look to move past the Jimmy Lake era by turning to former Fresno State head coach Kalen DeBoer. Washington has slipped in recent memory but did defeat the Sun Devils 35-30 a year ago.
Week 7 – BYE
Week 8 – at Stanford Cardinal
Date: October 2
It’s been a rough go for Stanford lately, but they return all five offensive linemen, a good quarterback in Tanner McKee, and all of their main receiving options. Running back E.J. Smith could be due for a breakout year, too.
Week 9 – at Colorado Buffaloes
Date: October 29
Playing at Boulder is never fun, but the Buffaloes went 4-8 a year ago and things aren’t looking great for Karl Dorrell and company. A new offensive system will hope to remedy a unit that mustered only 18.8 points per game and 257.4 total yards of offense.
Week 10 – vs. UCLA Bruins
Date: November 5
The Bruins went 8-4 a year ago and return quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson but only eight starters in total. Zach Charbonnet is poised for a huge year on the ground if Chip Kelly can get this offensive line working.
Week 11 – at Washington State Cougars
Date: November 12
The Cougars are a wild card in the Pac-12 with new offensive coordinator Eric Morris. Washington State won this matchup 34-21 a year ago and now has the advantage of playing at home.
Week 12 – vs. Oregon State, November 19
Date: November 19
Oregon State is no longer at the bottom of the barrel in the Pac-12 thanks to the job Jonathan Smith has done in Corvallis. This is a game the Sun Devils will hope to win playing at home.
Week 13 – at Arizona Wildcats
Date: November 25
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
The rivalry game to end the season, as had become a tradition. The Sun Devils have won this matchup five straight times (including a 70-7 drubbing in 2020) but the Wildcats should be improved in Year 2 under Jedd Fisch.
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