Arizona State Sun Devils a Legitimate National Title Contender


We’re done sleeping on the Arizona State Sun Devils. Todd Graham has a powerhouse team that might be the best in the Pac-12. And Taylor Kelly and D.J. Foster have made for a very balanced, dominant offense.

Admit it, when Notre Dame had cut the lead from 34-3 to 34-31, it was obvious to everybody that the Fighting Irish would lead an epic comeback.

Then the Arizona State offense responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive to go up 41-31. That was a clutch drive with less than 5 minutes less.

Then came an epic 58-yard interception return by Lloyd Carrington for a touchdown. Speaking of which, the Arizona State defense, which had been reviled for its performance earlier in the year, forced 4 interceptions on Everett Golson, whom we had considered a Heisman candidate earlier in the year.

The Irish did pick up 487 yards of total offense, but this is a great offense, and Arizona State held it in check the entire game. This is obviously a completely different team than the one that gave up 64 points to the UCLA Bruins earlier in the year.

With only one loss and in control of their own destiny to win the Pac-12 championship, it’s time to start thinking about this team as a legitimate College Football Playoff contender.

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Auburn’s loss has opened up more doors for this team since it has a chance on its own to knock off the Oregon Ducks.

So instead of just talking about this team right now, we have to actually consider this team with Baylor, Oregon, and other one-loss teams that we’ve been talking about as likely College Football Playoff teams.

The Sun Devils, in an odd way, are a more balanced and better offense with Kelly in than Mike Bercovici. Bercovici is a great quarterback who can put up huge numbers, but Kelly opens up the rushing attack with his efficient passing, turning Foster into a superstar.

As for Notre Dame, this team is gone from the national championship picture. The Fighting Irish have no quality wins, and they will have no chance to vault any other 2-loss teams because there is no other powerhouse team they have a chance to beat.

So, essentially, this team is done for this year.

But it’s a completely different story with Arizona State. With a balanced offense that scores a lot and takes care of the football, a defense that can force turnovers and keep a Heisman trophy candidate in check, the Sun Devils are great.

And we are going to take that into account.