Two football seasons filled with promise have, well, gone south so to speak here in The Grand Canyon State.
Todd Graham’s bullish pre-season expectations of Pac-12 championships and possible playoff invitations have been tempered while in Tucson Rich Rodriguez’s team is picking up the pieces, losers in three of their last five after a perfect 3-0 start.
ESPN college football insider Brad Edwards summed up the Sun Devils’ and Wildcats’ seasons in just a single word.
“Ouch,” he told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview Tuesday morning.
Of the two programs Edwards views the Sun Devils (4-3, 2-2) as a bigger mystery.
“I think I’m as confused as most people about Arizona State and exactly wha their problem is,” Edwards explained to Cesmat. “Something’s missing. They’re not as explosive as they should be. I thought Mike Bercovici was going to be one of the better quarterbacks in the Pac-12 and maybe a lot of it’s not his fault.”
He cites the UCLA win as a peek of what Graham’s team could be but has been saddled with inconsistencies on both sides of the ball and mental errors-something rare to recent ASU teams.
As for the University of Arizona, Edwards said he expected a bit of a drop off following their double-digit win, 2014 Pac-12 South title but one area is especially troublesome for Rich Rod’s squad.
“When you look at what’s happened to that defense in the last few weeks,” he said. “It really is kind of jarring…that [defense] over the last two seasons was sort of a pleasant surprise for them.”
Playing most of the season without All-American linebacker Scooby Wright Arizona is 119th nationally in total defense, 117th against the pass.
According to Edwards, what you’ve seen is pretty much what you’re going to get from both schools the rest of the season.
“I think both of them are average teams, middle-of-the-road teams in the Pac-12,” he bluntly explained. “That’s not what we expected going in.”