We're not even one full day removed from the 2014 season ending and different media outlets are already releasing their own top 25 polls. Of course none of this is official, but it is interesting to see where the national consciousness is on different teams and conferences. Guess what? Although the worldwide leader occasionally mixes up the Sun Devils and Wildcats, they still think pretty highly of Arizona State next season.
ESPN ranked ASU No. 15 in its "Way-Too-Early" top 25 traditionally released soon after the 2014 national championship game is over. It looks like the Pac-12 South will once again be one of the toughest divisions in college football in 2015. Three teams in USC (4), UCLA (7) and Arizona (13) were ranked ahead of ASU. Oregon was also ranked No. 5.
Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports placed ASU at No. 12, Oregon at No. 4, USC came in at No. 9, Arizona was No. 17 and Stanford had the No. 19 spot. He gave this reasoning for putting the Sun Devils where he did:
No offense to Taylor Kelly, but the Sun Devils' offense was scarier when strong-armed Mike Bercovici took the helm for several games. It's his job now, and he gets back all-purpose dynamo D.J. Foster and emerging complement Kalen Ballage. Coach Todd Graham also brings back nearly his entire starting defense led by a loaded linebacking corps.
Paul Myerberg of USA Today also gave his take. He ranked Stanford No.4, dropped Oregon to No. 10 and ASU came in right behind them at No. 11. He had USC at No. 13 and Arizona ranked at No. 15. He also slotted UCLA at No. 17. Here is Myerberg's logic for the ranking he gave ASU:
Because of the sense of the unfinished business 16 returning starters will bring to the table in 2015. After falling short in the crowded Pac-12 South Division, motivation won't be hard to find. At the same time, Arizona State will improve under center with Mike Bercovici's ascension to the starting role, has an All-America talent at receiver in D.J. Foster, has options in the backfield and may be deeper across the board on defense. There are question marks on the offensive front, however, and a hole in the passing game without Jaelen Strong.
Clearly these rankings are all over the board, but more or less have the same teams (including 5-6 Pac-12 teams) ranked. This means the Pac-12 should get its fair share of respect in the polls and College Football Playoff rankings again next season.We'll continue to update this post with any more "way too early" predictions we see for ASU as the week continues.