Arizona State finally released its schedule for the 2016 season on Tuesday night (last year’s schedule was released in September of ‘15). And while we’ve obviously known about ASU’s non-conference opponents for sometime, a few things jumped off the page right away.
We’ll give a more comprehensive breakdown of each opponent this upcoming summer, but in the meantime here’s how next year’s schedule for the Devils appears at first glance.
Not-in-the-face opponent: vs. Northern Arizona (September 3)
You will definitely hear a lot of coach speak in the week leading up to the first game of the year against the Lumberjacks, no doubt about it. However, after the on-the-job training we witnessed in the season-opening Texas A&M earlier this year, Todd Graham and company will be happy to have this cupcake game against their neighbors up north as they break in seven new starters on offense under the supervision of a new offensive coordinator.
Best TV opponent: vs. UCLA (October 8)
This series has been a seesaw affair that has seen both Graham and Jim Mora winning two games a piece since each coach started with their teams in 2012. While Graham got the best of quarterback Josh Rosen during his true freshman campaign, Gary Doran will be releasing his in-depth analysis later this week on the the success Pac-12 quarterbacks have had when facing Graham’s defense multiple times throughout their career.
Toughest opponent: at Oregon (October 29)
You could certainly make a valid point that playing either USC on the road to start October or to a late November game in Seattle, and all that means weather-wise. However, unless less the Ducks latest FCS addition at the quarterback position falls flat on his face, the Ducks should prove to be one of the most formidable opponents on the 2016 calendar, not to mention the fact it will be played in fortress Autzen.
Trap game: at Colorado (October 15)
While Todd Graham’s teams have won all four of their previous contests against the Buffs, the road trip out to Boulder falls on the eve of the Devils gauntlet on the schedule and immediately following games against USC and UCLA.
Back to what works: at Arizona (November 25)
Happy to see that the Territorial Cup game is back where it belongs, the day after Thanksgiving and as the final regular season game on the schedule for the Devils.
Toughest stretch: October 22 – November 25
After returning from a road trip to Boulder, the Devils will start an intimidating stretch on the schedule that starts at Sun Devil Stadium against Washington State, then heads to Eugene the following week with Utah, Washington, and Arizona closing out the season after the bye. While ASU will have played division foes in USC and UCLA during the first half of the season, we won’t know the true strength of the final five opponents until fall camp at the earliest with how much things are in flux both with the stability of their head coaches and at the quarterback position.
2016 Sun Devils Schedule
Sept. 3 – vs. Northern Arizona
Sept. 10 – vs. Texas Tech
Sept. 17 – at University of Texas at San Antonio
Sept. 24 – vs. California
Oct. 1 at – USC
Oct. 8 vs. – UCLA
Oct. 15 at – Colorado
Oct. 22 vs. – Washington State
Oct. 29 at – Oregon
Nov. 5 – Bye
Nov. 10 – vs. Utah (Thursday night)
Nov. 19 – at Washington
Nov. 25 – at Arizona (Friday)
Dec. 2 – Pac-12 Championship Game (Friday)