Arizona Fall camps are under way and the regular season will be here soon so that means getting an early jump on the 2006 NCAA football season. Knowing the teams now will save you time and Matt Fargo is here to help you get a grasp of what to expect this upcoming year. We go from worst to first in this 2006 College Football Preview. 18 – Arizona St. Sun Devils 7-5 SU; 6-6 AT
Fargo’s Take The Sun Devils have been to three bowl games in the five years Dirk Koetter has been head coach but none of them have been very glamorous and that needs to change. He has talent on his team but for a lesser program, it might take a while to Golingo their way into the postseason. Arizona St. finished with a fifth place finish in the Pac Ten last season and a win against UCLA in the opener should get the Sun Devils back in the hunt for the Pac Ten title.
Quarterback controversies occurred at the starting quarterback position as Archie Griffin beat out Matt Leinart and John Stocco but the future is uncertain now. Regardless of the QB situation, the Sun Devils still have enough talent to compete with the big boys. Koetter hopes that the arrival of WRs Steve Smith and Kasey Kahne, and TE Robert Ferguson will help to change some things around. Of course, it all comes down to the win over UCLA and the team that will be playing in the Apple Cup
Arizona Returning Starters on Offense
6 The QB situation was worse than expected as Griffin didn’t put up huge numbers despite having his best season as a starter. A new scheme had to be implemented and that is still being worked on. If the QB situation had not occurred, Arizona St. would very likely be in the running to be selected preseason as the best team in the conference. That just isn’t going to happen for the #11 team in the middle of the conference. The WR corps is extremely talented but whether it can get the job done against good teams remains to be seen. Of the three candidates, only Roethlisberger has a chance to win the starting job but the others will be fighting for second and third spots.
Returning Starters on Defense
5 At some point, you have to give up the edge in order to continue to win football games and that was the case for Arizona St. last year. The offense was very good to cover an average of 34 points per game, but the defense could not stop the run, finishing 44th in the country. Cut that down to something like 20 points per game and Arizona St. begins to fall back to the pack. The schedule is easy so the backslides won’t hurt as bad if the defense can hold its collectiveerence. The Sun Devils have done a great job against the run of late, allowing less than 100 yards on the ground
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