ASU football team gets what it deserves

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The results are in.

Arizona State University is a Top 25 team in the Coaches Poll. Arizona State is ranked 18th.

It's the first time since 2008 that the Devils made the cut. And, they deserve to be there.

No. 18 ASU has one of the most potent offenses in the nation. No one is going to argue with that outside of Tucson. The Devils return most of the key pieces from a top 10 scoring squad last season that averaged more than 39 points a game.

It's the defense that has even the most die-hard fans in Tempe worried. ASU is returning only two starters. Plus, they've lost potential playmakers Darrius Caldwell and Dalvon Stuckey. However, all is not lost.

"My first year here, they weren't very good the year before defensively and we only had three returning starters and we did pretty well," head coach Todd Graham said. "No one knew who Carl Bradford was. Will [Sutton] wasn't even honorable mention All-Conference. So those guys came in and stepped up to the next level, and that's what I am expecting our guys to do."

Wondering who will step to the next level?

Lloyd Carrington is an obvious choice. The cornerback will bring experience and talent to the table. True freshman D.J. Calhoun could be a monster at linebacker. Redshirt freshman Chans Cox was a huge recruiting "win" for ASU when he signed out of Lakeside Blue Ridge. If he can stay healthy, the former 4-star recruit has a huge opportunity to become a fan favorite with local ties.

Last season ASU finished ranked 20th. So, you have to ask yourself, "Are they better or worse than that team."

Thanks to the superior offense, but young defense, ASU deserves to be 18. On paper, they look slightly better than 2013-'14.

We will know quickly whether or not they deserve to stay there. Five teams ranked in the top 25 are on the schedule.

#7 UCLA (Sept. 25)
#15 @ USC (Oct. 4)
#11 Stanford (Oct. 18)
#25 @ Washington (Oct. 25)
#17 Notre Dame (Nov. 8)