Arizona State Football: 5 Most Highly Anticipated Games Next Year

Jeff Chase@@Real_Jeff_ChaseSenior Analyst IIMay 22, 2012

Arizona State Football: 5 Most Highly Anticipated Games Next Year

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    The Arizona State Sun Devils are getting ready for their first season under new head coach Todd Graham, but their schedule isn't filled with the easiest games.

    Nonetheless, the Sun Devils are playing some very good opponents, and hopefully the team will be able to make a solid game out of them. We don't know what to expect from this squad just yet, but perhaps they will pleasantly surprise some people in these big games with a win here and there.

Week 2: Illinois Fighting Illini

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    After defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils at home 17-14 last season, the Illinois Fighting Illini will be heading to the desert to try and make it two in a row.

    The Sun Devils fell to the Illini last season after getting off to a 2-0 start with a promising win over the Missouri Tigers.

    This time around, they will have to hope that home-field advantage will play their way, as an early-season win against a Big Ten squad could look nice in the early goings.

    Both these teams were very similar last season, starting out the season hot while totally fizzling out in the end, so every win is extremely important if either team wants to possibly make a bowl game this season.

Week 3: At Missouri Tigers

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    The Missouri Tigers almost took away a huge victory for the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium last season, so expect for them to put up a tough fight on their home turf.

    The Sun Devils got a huge boost from their win over Missouri, proving that they were possibly going to be one of the elite teams last season.

    This time, the Tigers have more dangerous weapons, including freshman Dorial Green-Beckham. It will remain to be seen if he plays this season, but if he does, it could spell trouble for the Sun Devils' secondary.

    Missouri quarterback James Franklin will be back this year, and perhaps he will be able to put up some ridiculous numbers with a player like DGB in his arsenal. 

Week 8: Oregon Ducks

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    No LaMichael James. No Darron Thomas. No problem, right?

    Not the case. The Sun Devils will host the Oregon Ducks last year, likely going up against the running back that pretty much destroyed them.

    In that game, Kenjon Barner ran the ball 31 times for 171 yards and a touchdown. Thomas had a solid game as well, but people shouldn't dismiss Bryan Bennett.

    The sophomore passer could be just as dangerous, but at home the Sun Devils always put up a fight against their big-time rivals.

    With the Sun Devils in the midst of still figuring many things out, it is safe to say the Ducks will likely rule the day once again.

    Nonetheless, it is always an exciting game to watch.

Week 11: At USC Trojans

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    The Sun Devils will be playing quarterback Matt Barkley for the last time, and after last year's loss at Sun Devil stadium, you can bet the USC Trojans will be out to fix that.

    Going into the season, the Trojans are arguably one of the top teams in all of college football. Rightfully so. They have one of top passer-receiver combos in Barkley and Robert Woods, as well as coming off a strong 10-2 season.

    The Trojans were not able to play in a bowl last season due to sanctions, so expect them to go full throttle with a chip on their shoulder to make sure they get what they believe they deserve.

    There won't be any classic Vontaze Burfict moments in this game, but you can bet it will still be one to watch.

Week 13: At Arizona Wildcats

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    It'll be the first duel in the desert between these two first-year head coaches, as Todd Graham and Rich Rodriguez will battle it out in Tucson to see who rules the state.

    It isn't clear at this point which team is better, but after last year's game, we can argue that doesn't really matter. The Sun Devils were clearly the superior team this past season, but that didn't stop the Arizona Wildcats from pouncing on them in Sun Devil Stadium to steal all the air out of Tempe.

    The Sun Devils will have a chance to redeem themselves, and if the season doesn't go as planned, a win here will be enough to at least raise their spirits heading into 2013.