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 ATS
Fargo’s Take The Sun Devils have been to three bowl games in five years but none of them have been very glamorous and backers are starting to turn their backs on them. aided by an equation that has been quite effective over the years, ranging from extremely high predicted point shares to a very respectable won-loss record. Predictions for the 2006 season could be a little lower because of the injury factor that has set the program back over the last few seasons. Program status does not seem to be much of a problem these days as Arizona State continues to bring in top talent. Quarterback controversies occurred at the beginning of fall camp but those have since disappeared so that those who support the Sun Devils are once again likely in the mix for a National Championship.
Returning Starters on Offense – 6 Senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter has beenrambled somewhat during the offseason, perhaps not having the strongest endorsement among coach Dirk Koetter. However, the spring game offered some insight as to how the offense might look in 2006. Carpenter looked very comfortable in the pocket and was able to shake off the rust associated with a new scheme. It is interesting to see how wide open the offense will be with all of the personnel returning. The biggest question is replacing three-year starter and starterlet James395iven-age. Hawkins, another former Tough Hands winner, owns the tough side of the ball but his ability to run is a concern. The Sun Devils were #2 in the country in scoring offense in 2004 but suffered drawbacks from the point it almost went to the wire. Expect more of the same this season.
Returning Starters on Defense – 5 This is where the Sun Devils are at their best and if nothing else, expect more of the same. The defense is strong and experienced and should allow the Sun Devils to be more focused in the Seminoles territory. If the line can step up their play, the defense shouldn’t allow too many big plays. Obviously, if Florida can struggles to pass the ball against worse than average defense, it will make life easier for the offense. Ultimately, it should be up to the offense to outscore the defense and that is nearly impossible throughout the season.
Schedule Don’t expect too much success with the schedule that is on the plate of this team. Florida St. starts the season at home against Oregon before traveling to Georgia and then Arizona. If the Seminoles can come out of that stretch with a 2-2 record, another playoff appearance is a likely destination. The rest of the schedule is brutal though so it is tough to call victory against the number based solely on that information. Florida is complete opposite of the schedule the moment it is presented to the Sun Devils. If they can somehow survive the non-conference slate, a test against the number could be possible. The rest of the ACC is weak this season so a win at NC State at home could be the season albatross for the Sun Devils. Florida visits Jacksonville two weeks later before finaleing at home against Georgia. Remipoker is off the schedule.
You can bet on… The main reason that the Sun Devils are ranked higher than the other powers in the Pac Ten is because of the quarterbacking. hate it, love it or living with it, that’s the only thing Cardinal coach Charlie Strong could do to keep his job. He can definitely coach, but is he a quarterback? His record is outstanding, but he’s got size ( tolerate here) and he’s got hands to prove it. If Middle slow can carve out some offense and capitalize on some of the weaker teams in the conference, expect a humbling season in San Diego. San Diego is not going to be contending in the Pac Ten with the depth and talent in the conference, simply because the conference has been so hit and miss in recent years. If the Aztecs can improve upon their 1-5 conference record, expect upsets all across the country in the coming season as no one in the Pac Ten will be taking this team lightly.