History Lesson: Don’t Sleep On ‘Cats, Devils In South

The only known commodity of the upcoming Pac-12 football season as a whole is well, the unknown.

Sure, few will argue the overall skill and athleticism of USC and UCLA or the fact Stanford will once again be talented, Β well-coached and physical at the line of scrimmage but in many ways this fall could be a mystery.

The Arizona State Sun Devils and Arizona Wildcats find themselves, at least from the media’s perspective, tucked in the middle half of the Pac-12 South.

One college football analyst doesn’t necessarily believe that’s such a bad thing.

“When I look at the Pac-12 South,” FOX Sports lead analyst Joel Klatt told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a recent phone interview. “I think that a game here or there goes in the right direction I Arizona State or Arizona could be right there [in contention].”

Klatt says recent history has proven it’s not uncommon for a “dark horse” to make a run a conference title in the South just like the Wildcats did in 2014.

“I think they’re in a very similar position now,” he said. “I happen to think Arizona is going to be a very decent team. I know there’s been some turmoil. I know there’s been some changeover but the bottom line for me is Rich [Rodriguez] always puts a competitive team on the field.”

He likes the experience the ‘Cats have back in key positions which typically lends itself to winning close games, especially in the ultra-competitive Pac-12.

As others have said, the Sun Devils low expectations could be the perfect remedy coming off a disappointing 6-7 season last fall.

“While on the surface it looks like Arizona State may struggle a little bit, you just never know,” Klatt said. “Todd [Graham] has been a wonderful coach for a number of years. I think that if they can run the football like they have in the past they’re going to have a chance…they’re going to be right there, as well.”