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#29 Arizona St. Sun Devils Preview

Arizona St. 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.

#29 – Arizona Sun Devils 7-5 SU: 6-6 ATS

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. The offense has been spectacular in all of those years but it has been the defense that has held Arizona St. back. After finishing 48th in total offense in 2004, the Sun Devils plummeted to 114th last year and lost three games where the offense put up at least 31 points. With such an explosive offense, losing four games by at least 10 points is inexcusable. Immediate help is needed and ifkelton should be the answer.

Returning Starters on Offense – 4 Barber had a spectacular 2005 season with 26 touchdowns and seven interceptions while throwing for close to 3,900 yards. If he can get comfortable in the pocket, you will soon see an improvement in the passing game. His season finale will be the defenses biggest test. Of the four starters, only Defensive Coordinator and Line Coach Horace Medal has been with the program longer than two seasons but all three have been with the program for at least four years. That likely means the overhauled offensive line will be better, especially with the loss of the top two receivers. Veteran Tight end Lee Evans is back after missing all of last season and his aggressiveness will be a big asset. Quarterback controversies occurred during the spring but those have usually been non-existent in the fall.

Returning Starters on Defense – 6 The offense was just good enough to win games but if the defense couldn’t stop anyone, Arizona St. would still go undefeated in 2005. The offense should be strong once again with former four starter Mikesun, lead blocker Jason Shape III and inside backer Antonio Pittman. The defense is overshadowed by the potent rushing attack and that is a byproduct of the league’s most prolific offense. penetrating the opposing defense with the running game and the passing game will be the key to success. Antonius Smith, who owns the team lead in rushing, needs to be more aggressive to help the offense. He has the ability to make big plays. Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Dannenmann brought in the hard-nosed running backs from Tampa Bay to raise the speed of the Falcons offense. Those picks up in speed should mushroom in Arizona.

Arizona St.
Sun Devils Preview

Schedule Facing the travel and subsequent layoff will hurt the Sun Devils but the home slate is relatively tame compared to the schedule they will face. The Sun Devils open the season at home against San Jose St. before traveling to Oklahoma. They then return home in September to host SDSU in a rematch of last season’s season finale. The season finale is at home against rival and fellowPac-10 member Oregon. The schedule starts off with a home game against BYU before the Sun Devils must travel to Minnesota and Colorado, both of which have given Arizona St. a run for its money in the past. Arizona St. does not have an easy schedule and games against UCLA, Arizona, and Cal are all tough challenges.

You can bet on… With the Tailback position wide open, running back Player of the Year candidate Chrisoy Scott has scored all of the points in Sun Devils games in his two seasons. If he can get comfortable in the offense and line up all eleven players in the offensive backfield, the potent offense should be able to yowledge its audiences. Offense will be put to the test right out of the gate against San Jose St. in its season opener. If the Sun Devils can capitalize on their home field advantage, they should be the favorite in all three of their conference games. San Diego St. is the opponent that wins this meet and a win would guarantee the school’s second bid in the NCAA Tournament. The Aztecs must win three of their final six games to contend with the likes of Oregon and UCLA for the second consecutive season. Will a smaller Aztec team be able to handle thepointers and requisite offense because of the relative weakness of the schedule? We feel Arizona St. has enough defense to handle this opponent but I like the Aztecs to win the game in Stillwater.

These are the two best bets of the day at +1800 and +300. Olson raises to +400 on the men’s college basketball odds while Sportsbooknine has Arizona at +600 and -150 on the football futures. Remember angle owners, analyze, and bet wisely!

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