Just six of Arizona State’s eleven remaining opponents play on this weekend, but there is tons to be watched for Sun Devil fans on what is to be expected for the rest of the road in Arizona State’s grueling schedule.
Here are some games to watch:
Eastern Washington vs. Texas Tech (1 p.m., Fox Sports)
Without Patrick Mahomes, the Red Raiders enter the 2017 season without 2016’s leading passer. Mahomes totaled 400 yards more than any FBS quarterback with 5,052 last season. Nic Shimonek a senior from Mildred, Texas, finally gets his chance as the starter. Shimonek amounted 464 passing yards last season, and totaled 271 against Kansas in a game he threw four touchdowns. Replacing Mahomes may not even be the biggest question for the Red Raiders whose defense was dead last in the nation a season ago giving up 43.5 points per game. Eastern Washington, who traveled to Washington State and beat the later 8-5, 7-2 in Pac-12 Cougars, 45-42 last season, may pose a huge offensive threat to the Texas Tech.
Western Michigan vs. No. 4 USC (2:15 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
USC may be the best team the Sun Devils face in the 2017 season and while the Trojans are favored by 28 points against Western Michigan, it should be interesting to see which weapons are unleashed from USC in game one. Sam Darnold will begin his Heisman campaign, as Ronald Jones, a 1,000-yard rusher from last season lines up behind him. Defensively, the Trojans return their two highest leading tacklers from last season in Cameron Smith who amounted 83 total takles in 2016 and Porter Gustin was behind him with 68 tackles and had a team high 13 tackles for loss.
No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida State (5 p.m., ABC)
While this matchup has little or nothing to do with Arizona State’s 2017 season, it is college football’s most hyped week one contest for a long time and for good reason. Deandre Francois and the Seminoles look to possibly spoil Alabama’s season in just the first week of football. While the nation’s eyes may be settled on Alabama sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts, it’s running back Bo Scarborough who averaged 6.5 yards per carry and Calvin Ridley who is Alabama’s returning lead receiver who will seriously determine how great Alabama’s attack will be on Saturday.
UC Davis vs. San Diego State (5:30 p.m.)
Just as the Sun Devils slid past the Aggies on Thursday night, the San Diego State Aztecs will look to beat Aggies of their own in UC Davis. SDSU, Arizona State’s next opponent, returns this season without last season’s leading yard-getter among all running backs, Donnel Pumphrey who totaled 2,133 yards on the ground. Along with that, the Aztecs lost five senior offensive linemen. It should be interesting to watch Rashaad Penny, a senior running back who gained 1,395 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. This year, he has major shoes to fill.
Texas A&M vs. UCLA (Sunday, 4:30 p.m. FOX)
After an underwhelming 4-8 season in 2016, UCLA will look to get back on track against one of college football’s toughest opponents in Texas Tech. Ranked or not, the Aggies blew the then-No. 15 Sun Devils out of the water in their 2015 season opener and beat then-No. 16 UCLA in last season’s opener. But this season, unranked UCLA is favored by four points against an A&M team who is built with Scottsdale native and possible Heisman candidate Christian Kirk.