High Hopes, High Expectations: ASU Sun Devils Kick Off 2021 Ranked

Written By C.J. Pierre on September 4, 2021 - Last Updated on January 30, 2023

Arizona State is ready to get back on the field with eyes on winning the Pac-12 Conference championship.

This is after a whirlwind 2020 season for the Sun Devils that saw them play only 4 games, going just 2-2.

The team is dealing with some off-the-field issues as an investigation is underway into claims that the program has ignored the NCAA’s strict recruiting rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it will come down to if head coach Herm Edwards allows this to become a distraction or help fuel the team to break out in 2021.

Expectations high for Sun Devils in 2021

The Sun Devils rank 25th in the nation, according to the Associated Press poll, the lowest of five Pac-12 teams ranked. Although Oregon, USC, Washington and Utah are currently ahead of Arizona State, it only takes a couple of slip-ups to give ASU the chance to jump them.

A few weeks before the season began, DraftKings Sportsbook listed the Sun Devils at +10,000 to win the national championship and +450 to win the Pac-12. The over/under on wins sat at 8.5 to start the season.

Meanwhile, a look at ASU’s schedule can lead to optimism. The Sun Devils wouldn’t have to play Oregon until a potential Pac-12 title game. Another plus, they play USC in the friendly confines of Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

The season kicked off with a bang after Arizona State rolled in its home opener Thursday night against Southern Utah with a 41-14 victory. ASU went into the game as a 45.5-point favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Although the Sun Devils didn’t cover, it wasn’t a loss for fans in Arizona.

Will the Sun Devils ride their QB’s hot hand?

Many believe that the Sun Devils’ hopes of winning the Pac-12 will come down to the arm and legs of quarterback Jayden Daniels. The junior generated a lot of attention after playing well as a freshman in 2019. That year, he played in 12 games throwing for 2,943 yards with 17 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Experts are expecting big things from Daniels this season. According to PointsBet, he’s tied for the 10th-best odds of winning the Heisman Trophy. That ranks Daniels second out of all Pac-12 players, one spot behind USC quarterback Kedon Slovis.

Although you can’t get into college football betting in Arizona until the state launches Sept. 9, some sportsbooks have set the moneyline for him being named college football’s best player is at +4,000. If you put down $100 on him to win the Heisman, you’d come out $4,000 richer.

If all goes to plan, the Grand Canyon state will roll out the first AZ mobile betting apps within the week. And bettors in the state can get skin in on the game, including Arizona State’s second home contest, against UNLV on Sept. 11.

Photo by AP / Rick Scuteri
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C.J. Pierre

CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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