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Monday Mailbag: College football’s future, QB talk, ASU diamond sports outlook and the Coyotes’ new home

Round 7

Zac BonDurant

The Arizona State sports calendar is coming to a close and summer is right around the corner. Now is the season of speculation and previewing what to see in ASU’s future athletic’s programs, and it is apparent in this week’s mailbag.

Not going to lie, it was kind of refreshing to not talk too much about NIL this time around, even though it is a very broad and game-changing topic across the college sports landscape.

Normal rules still apply with a two-question limit per user. Some questions were edited for brevity or clarity.

What are the odds of a complete schizm in college football? The SEC & Big-12 on one side, the Big Ten, ACC, & Pac-12 on the other. Each group of leagues holds their own playoff and “national” championship.

I see it as more likely than not. - Troll S.

WEIPZ: First off, thank you for not spelling it out “PAC” as former site manager Brady Vernon would have been very disappointed.

To get to your question, I think the NCAA will become somewhat non-existent across most, if not all sports in the future. When college sports first started out it was the conferences that were in control. The NCAA as it is already does not control the football championships and postseason, so it would seem likely that other sports can eventually follow and stay within their conferences.

The impending realignments of the Big 12 and SEC will be the turning point to see what actually happens. The NIL ruling a few years ago was the tip of the iceberg to show the NCAA is not above the law and that they are now fighting an uphill battle to stay together.

Who is expected to win the QB competition? I rewatched our film from last season and JD had to be his own best friend quite a bit in generating offense with his legs. Without a clear cut number one receiver identified at this time that can get a QB out of a jam, I believe the staff will probably favor the most mobile of the bunch and give Jones the job. - DevilForce1

REDFERN: Unlike the first round of Monday Mailbags, this question has a little more clarity to its answer. It is Emory Jones’ job to lose.

I echo your sentiment about the reasoning as well. This offense is desperate for playmakers, and what better place to start than the quarterback position. Jones’ tape has a lot of those busted-plays-turned-first-downs via his legs a la Jayden Daniels. I believe the Daniels-to-Jones transition was about as parallel of an upgrade as can be. No better, no worse.

As for his arm, it will take some time to develop the timing and chemistry with the receivers, especially because Jones was not in Tempe for spring ball. Do not be surprised if the play calling sheet leans run-first like it did all of 2021. Jones will likely crack the top-three in rushing stats on the team.

The softball team was pretty solid with consistency all season long until that final game with NWU when things slid off the track. Sans the potential of transfers, how is this team stacked up for next year? Production-wise that is. The baseball team came on strong towards the season’s end but failed to make the postseason. It felt like we could’ve used another month of games to get there. Same question, what’s next year’s outlook and should we start saving up for Omaha? You did say questions, as in plural. Right? Well there you go. Please enlighten my callowness. - Devilism

KR: Well, it looks like I have my work cut out for me here. This seems like a good time to mention that summer “State of the Program” and “Four to Flourish” pieces will be returning this week detailing various programs during the offseason.

The hangover from softball supers still lingers a week later, especially with all the news about our downstate rival playing in Oklahoma City. Looks like that run is over though, which is beside the point. Or is it?

Jessica Puk, Bella Loomis and Mailey McLemore are the three confirmed players whose careers ended with the loss to Northwestern. On paper, Trisha Ford’s team should have the same foundation to make a run in 2023 as it did last year.

Puk’s departure will be sorely missed behind the dish. As a graduate transfer acquisition, her steady presence was a constant as the pitching improved throughout the season. Another splash like that would do wonders for Ford and co. For now, soon-to-be-sophomore Liliana Thomas should get a shot.

Same with Loomis, or the “Silent Assassin,” as Ford would say. Loomis had multiple veteran moments in the NCAA Tournament, both with her bat and her glove. The clutch gene is hard to replace.

We saw the development of Mac Morgan, Lindsay Lopez and Allison Royalty throughout the season as a unit, but this team has no room to regress in the circle. As a program, I see them competing for a conference title and a shot for Oklahoma City again. The freshman core is too talented to disappoint.

Which leads me to baseball, which has a similar foundation. The freshman trio of Ryan Campos, Jacob Tobias and Will Rogers was a sight to see as the season developed. Granted something drastic, they will spearhead Willie Bloomquist’s 2023 campaign. However, I foresee another year of growing pains.

The portal losses hurt, and Bloomquist’s 2023 recruiting class does not pop off the page unless first-round draft prospect Termarr Johnson decides to forgo the payday and follow his commitment. Perfect Game has ASU as the 26th best class in the nation, not including Johnson’s verbal. I have lower hopes for this team compared to softball.

I’m sure hotel prices in OKC and Omaha are comparable this time of year. I don’t know how, as an ASU fan, you could confidently pull the trigger on that purchase until you can actually confirm their World Series-status. Jinx levels are at an all-time high.

What are your thoughts on the new Coyote arena? To me, they don’t have a strong enough fan base to justify a new building. They might be popular for a year or 2, but 10 years from now, the stadium attendance will be a ghost town. - Zoon P.

RW: Just to clarify before going any deeper, the City Council meeting was just to start negotiations on the project (they made that very clear over the eight hour hearing). I will proceed to answer under the assumption that both sides will come to terms and build the arena in Tempe.

The first thought pertained to the fan base and how it would maybe help for the first few years. Of course people would love to go out and see a new building, but the size of the true fan base starts to become apparent as the years go on. During the proposal, there was talks of 30-year agreement to not even bring up the word “relocation.”

The entire project is interesting considering there is really only one way to get in/out of the lot but the location is definitely more central to everyone around the area. But, I know you mentioned 10 years from now, but does the Valley have 30 years of support in them?

There were a ton of Coyotes fans giving testimonials at the City Council meeting, but maybe we should see if they can fill up the new 5,100-seat ASU arena first.

One thing I did want to mention about this is that ASU basketball could *theoretically* play a season or two in the new arena while DFA gets a little much-needed renovation of its own. Just some food for thought.