Pac-12 football projections: ASU, Arizona flip spots in Pac-12 South prediction for 2022

Jeremy Cluff
Arizona Republic
View Comments

In January, Pac-12 Insider Jon Wilner turned some heads when he picked Arizona to finish ahead of Arizona State in his early Pac-12 predictions for the 2022 college football season.

The writer for the San Jose Mercury News, however, isn't sticking with that prediction.

In his recently released Pac-12 football projections for 2022, Wilner now has ASU finishing fourth in the Pac-12 South and Arizona finishing fifth.

More:ASU football big loser in college football transfer portal; Arizona Wildcats among winners

Of the Sun Devils, Wilner writes: "The Sun Devils received a rare bit of good news last week when Florida quarterback Emory Jones announced his transfer to ASU — and immediately became the frontrunner for the job. We believe Jones could be the difference between a middle- and bottom-tier finish. But no evaluation of ASU would be complete without mentioning the potential for the recruiting scandal to decimate the ’22 season, with a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA forcing the immediate termination of coach Herm Edwards."

Of the Wildcats, he writes: "The progress in Tucson is undeniable, but the degree of progress is immeasurable until competition begins. Our hunch is the Wildcats have exited the realm of the awful and moved into that crowded space occupied by the mediocre. Certainly, they are positioned to zoom past Colorado, but have they caught ASU? Perhaps. Jayden de Laura’s arrival helps immensely in that regard, but as with so many teams, Arizona’s success hinges on the frequency with which the defense gets off the field on third down and the offensive line keeps the pocket clear."

More:Herm Edwards, Arizona State Sun Devils football turmoil helps Jedd Fisch, Arizona Wildcats

One writer has changed his mind on whether Arizona or Arizona State will have the better 2022 Pac-12 football season.

Wilner has ASU's best case scenario in the division as a third place finish, the same as Arizona. He has both team's worst case scenarios as sixth place finishes in the Pac-12 South.

Utah is projected to win the division in his projection, with USC No. 2 and UCLA No. 3. He has Colorado coming in last in the division (sixth).

Oregon is his predicted winner of the North Division, followed by Washington State, Oregon State, Washington, California and Stanford.

More:Arizona football record prediction: How many wins will Wildcats get in 2022 season?

ASU went 8-5 last season but has been embroiled in an NCAA recruiting investigation that has led to an exodus of players transferring.

Arizona went 1-11, but brought in a touted recruiting class and some key transfers, including former Washington State quarterback Jayden de Laura.

The Wildcats open the season Sept. 3 at San Diego State.

The Sun Devils open Sept. 1 against Northern Arizona.

Which team will have the better season in 2022?

More:Arizona State football record prediction: How many wins will Sun Devils get in 2022?

Reach Jeremy Cluff at jeremy.cluff@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.

Support local journalism: Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

View Comments