The ASU football program is going through a tough stretch, but in recent predictions of 2022 bowl games, the Sun Devils still make the list.
Pending NCAA allegations, brand-new coordinators on both sides of the ball, and losing a slew of top players to the draft/transfer portal are all realities that have put a damper on the expectations for ASU football in 2022.
Even with that being the case, Brad Crawford of 247Sports has projected that the Sun Devils will be playing in a bowl game when the season is all said and done.
His projected matchup has Arizona State facing off against Air Force in the Jimmy Kimmell LA Bowl.
Played in the new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, the LA Bowl is one of the most recent additions to the bowl game circuit with its first iteration being a match between Utah State and Oregon State in December of 2021.
The Mountain West Conference and the Pac-12 are the official conference tie-ins for the game and Brad Crawford believes Air Force will represent the MWC and Arizona State the Pac-12.
Most famously, the champion of the Pac-12 attends the Rose Bowl every year to take on a Big Ten opponent if they are not selected to play in the College Football Playoffs. Last season this saw Ohio State defeat Utah in a 48-45 victory over the Pac-12.
What does the projection mean for the hopes of ASU football fans?
Unlike some other conferences, the Pac-12 does not have a set ranking of bowl games that the conference is affiliated with. Instead, matchups are determined by geography and the potential for entertaining games.
So really, Crawford’s prediction doesn’t tell us much about how well he expects ASU football to play in 2022 other than a vote of confidence that the team will reach the requisite six wins to qualify for a bowl game appearance.
The Herm Edwards-led Sun Devils have appeared in a bowl game each season except for the significantly shortened 2020 season. They have played in the Las Vegas Bowl twice, in 2018 and 2021, and once in the Sun Bowl. Unfortunately, Edwards has gone 1-2 in those matches with the sole victory coming in the 2019 Sun Bowl over Florida State.
ASU football will be facing its share of challenges this season and Edwards is coming under increasingly intense scrutiny. The question remains: will a bowl game appearance be enough to save the reputation of Herm Edwards in the hearts of Sun Devil fans?