3. Q: Will Chip Kelly/Kevin/Sumlin/Herm Edwards come up with an appreciably stronger second season?
Considering he had never been a college football head coach and was out of the game entirely since 2008, Herm Edwards did a fine job in his first season at Arizona State.
This should be better than a 7-6 program, but Edwards being able to tread water wasn’t bad considering ASU hasn’t won more than seven games since 2014 and lost in its last three bowl appearances.
That might all change right away considering Edwards went with a slew of underclassmen across the board as last year went on, and he’s got a great mix of talents returning to be a sneaky-good player in the South race.
With seven games against teams that didn’t go bowling last season, and with three of the last four games at home, the schedule isn’t bad. However, among those teams that didn’t go bowling are USC, UCLA and Arizona.
That 7-6 season by Edwards at ASU looked a whole lot better with a gut-punch win over Arizona to close out the regular season.
It was a strange year for Sumlin, with a power-outage blowout loss to Houston, a season-opening clunker against BYU, and losses to mediocre UCLA and USC teams – and a 44-15 win over Oregon.
There wasn’t any consistency in the 5-7 campaign, but he’s got a far stronger team coming back. Unlike the beginning of last year, the offensive line looks like a potential positive, some nice defensive players are in place, and QB Khalil Tate has a year in the system.
Arizona is going bowling this year, but can the program become the hot thing in the South with an explosive offensive system? The pieces are there to do it.
And then there’s Chip Kelly and UCLA.
Kelly’s grand experiment will either prove to blow up huge as the program finally becomes a national player again, or it might be a total disaster if his fit-a-type recruiting doesn’t blend with the veterans in place.
It all started to work as last year went on. Throw UCLA into the same bucket as Nebraska – two programs with two great head coaches who struggled early, but with offenses that looked ready to explode.
The Bruins might have lost four of their last five games in a brutal season, but they beat USC, hung around in shootouts against Arizona State and Stanford, and on the year, lost four games by a touchdown or less.
One 3-9 season? Okay … it was a total rebuild. Now go bowling and start doing all that Chip Kelly stuff.