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ASU Football: How the Devils stack up against Big 12 opponents during Pac-12’s hot start

Arizona State’s comparison to future conference opponents as a 1-1 team.

Oklahoma State v Arizona State Photo by Bruce Yeung/Getty Images

In what will be the Pac-12’s last season as a conference, the wilting group on the west coast has produced a 21-4 overall record as a conference through two weeks, the best conference record in the country. Eight teams in the Pac-12 rank inside the top 25, the first time in Pac-12 conference history.

The irony of the Pac-12’s early season success is paralleled with the decision of eight teams deciding to move on from the conference this season, seeking shelter in larger power five conglomerates. After years of discourse over a new media rights deal, it was USC and UCLA that announced their move to the Big Ten in December of 2022 after the Pac-12 struggled to find a suitor. It took only eight months for the remaining eight teams to gather their bags and leave the 108-year-old conference as well.

The Big 12 became the destination for Arizona, Utah and Arizona State after they agreed to a six-year, $2.28 billion dollar media rights deal with ESPN and Fox.

Arizona State has begun season 1-1 after a Week 2 loss to future Big 12 conference opponent Oklahoma State.
Richard Martinez/ House of Sparky

The future home for Arizona State athletics has welcomed a balanced football standings with an overall record of 20-8. Eight of 14 teams have begun their season 2-0; all eight of them with two home wins apiece. At the bottom of the standings lies two unexpected teams in Texas Tech and Baylor, both with two ugly losses at home to start the year for teams who are expected to finish toward the top of the conference.

Surprises across the board reside in the Big 12. Wins such as Texas’ upset of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and UCF’s road win at Boise State highlights the conference’s ability to win on the road. Losses such as TCU’s thriller against Colorado at home, Baylor’s loss to Utah in Waco, Texas and Texas Tech’s loss to Oregon in Lubbock, Texas proves the weakness of some of the teams, particularly in Texas. Three of the conference’s five home losses have come against Pac-12 schools.

Arizona State, after a 1-1 start to the year, would position themselves anywhere from eight to 12 in the conference with four teams in the conference at 1-1 as well. Those four, 1-1 Big 12 teams are Houston, Iowa State, TCU and West Virginia.

Texas v Alabama
Texas Longhorns get signature win early in the season on the road at Alabama, begin season 2-0.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

According to ESPN’s College Football Power Index, there isn’t a school in the Pac-12 nor the Big 12 that ranks lower. The Sun Devils rank No. 94 out of 133 FBS schools and are the second lowest ranked power five school ahead of No. 101 ranked Boston College. The next closest Pac-12 school is Stanford at No. 81 and the next closest Big 12 school is BYU at No. 70.

ESPN’s FPI is a measurement of the number of points above or below average a team is using simulations of expected points average (EPA). Arizona State’s FPI number is -7.5 and are projected to finish with 2.7 wins and 9.4 losses.

Although the season is still early, ASU football has its work cut out for them as they make the transition in 2024 to the Big 12. If Arizona State were to be competitive in football in the Big 12, improvements to the program need to be made quickly as the market for NIL continues to swell at a blistering pace.