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2016 Pac-12 preview countdown - #7 Arizona State: Sun Devils maintain status quo

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NCAA Football: Cactus Bowl-West Virginia vs Arizona State Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The long torture of summer sports is almost over, but we still have a little ways to go. To get things ready, I went over every single game on the Pac-12 schedule in 2016 and predicted records for each team.

I'm going to countdown how I think the teams ultimately stack up in the final regular season standings with snapshots of each team.

#12 was Oregon State

#11 was Colorado

#10 was Cal

#9 was Arizona

#8 was Utah

#7 is...Arizona State

Prediction: 6-6 (3-6) fourth in South

Bowl: Arizona Bowl vs. Nevada

Wins: Northern Arizona, Texas Tech, at UTSA, Cal, Utah, at Arizona

Losses: at USC, UCLA, at Colorado, Washington State, at Oregon, at Washington

The Sun Devils are still talented and well-coached, but they need to replace a lot of starters on offense in 2016 and have a defense which got absolutely bombed in 2015. I think the Sun Devils have another transition year of sorts, crawl to a bowl game, but lose a lot games along the way.

Non-conference: The Sun Devils have one challenging game out of conference at home against a strong Texas Tech team who I think they can outscore. I think they can also avoid an upset at UTSA to go 3-0 outside of the Pac-12.

In-conference: It’s a tough road for the Sun Devils in the Pac-12. There is not a single game on their Pac-12 schedule I am super confident about them winning. I think they have a good shot in every game, but getting to 3-4 wins in the Pac-12 will be hard.

I think the Sun Devils are simply too talented and well-coached to not win a few Pac-12 games. I will give them an average Cal team at home and minor upset of Utah in Tempe and a close win at Arizona to get themselves to a bowl.

I think they will be very competitive in all of their conference losses except maybe at USC or Oregon or Washington. I predicted losses, but I think they will be favored at home against Colorado and their game at home against Washington State is a toss-up.

How Will It Feel In December?

Not good. The Sun Devils had a step back year in 2015 and will follow it up with a very similar season. Things were tight around Todd Graham in December and this won’t change things very much. I don’t think it will put him on the hot seat, but the Sun Devils will need to have marked improvement in 2017.