If you are a frequent reader of the SB Nation network, as well as a college football junkie, I assume you must be aware of the fantastic work provided by our colleague Bill Connelly. Every year, he previews all 128 FBS teams and this summer is no exception to the rule.
Earlier this week, Bill presented Arizona State's 2016 season with all the details, stats and predictions you want and need to know.
By the way, I would invite you to read every one of his previews but I'm sure you already checked them out by now. We all crave college football and these are the perfect snacks to get through the wait.
6 predicted wins, how?
Flurries of in-depth statistics about offensive and defensive efficiency, explosiveness, or field position highlight what a team has accomplished or how it will likely be performing in the future. Bill Connelly even created a college football team ratings based on recruiting impact, returning production and recent history. Phew.
This answers three key questions: How well has a team done recently? What talent has it lost from last year? And how good are the players replacing the lost talent?
Here are the projected ratings for 2016, and Arizona State comes in at 57 behind teams like Georgia Southern, Houston, San Diego State and Indiana.
It is interesting to keep this classification in mind as we take a look at Arizona State projections against every team the Sun Devils will face in 2016. In his preview, Bill Connelly gathers all the squads on ASU's schedule and projects likely wins and likely losses.
Arizona State is favored in 6 games and, as you can guess, is deemed looser for the other 6 games.
Why only 6 projected wins?
The reasons are pretty clear: ASU's schedule is quite road-heavy and back-loaded.
4 of ASU's 6 projected losses happens the last four weeks of the regular season on the road to Oregon, Washington and Arizona (ugh...), and at home against Utah. The two match-ups with the Los Angeles schools in early October are also valued as losses.
There are the bones of an excellent 2017 team here, but against a schedule that features four projected top-20 opponents and eight projected top-50s, there might be a few too many missteps to jump back up into the nine-win range.
Except UCLA, all of these projected top-20 teams are on the road. The challenges will be high, even if the Sun Devils rebound higher than expected. A back-loaded schedule may procure hopes of improvement early in the year, however, you know how it goes with hopes related to ASU Football (spoiler alert: not good).
Could the final record be better or worse than 6-6?
Well, either way, this record will most likely be different. ASU is unpredictable, dear statistics.
The win probability of six games, which is basically half of the schedule, is between 44% and 56%. That is to say these games are highly volatile and will be decided by a few points. No more than 2.5 points, to be accurate.
And with six games with a win probability between 49 and 56 percent, the luck of the bounce could make a significant impact on the overall record.
Arizona State needs to get back on the track of success following a promising season that went into a spin. Bill Connelly projects the Sun Devils to go through quite a few games that could go either way. Luck and good bounces are going to dictate ASU's final record.
You already how it is going to end. Nail-bitters. Fans are used to this feeling, unfortunately.
ASU could win these 6 games, end up with an 8-win record and another Territorial Cup win. But I seriously doubt it will happen considering the Sun Devils have to break out a new starting quarterback, a new offensive line and a whole team that loses a substantial amount of experience.
In the end, no one know what is going to happen to Arizona State. Like every year, in fact.