Arizona State is ranked 17th in Sports Illustrated's Top 25 rankings, one of the highest rankings for the Sun Devils amongst the preseason polls. They rank just ahead of TCU (No. 18) and ahead of good programs such as Ohio State (No. 19), USC (No. 20) and Missouri (No. 22).
The Sun Devils have had a fairly brutal offseason, losing key contributors such as cornerback Omar Bolden, wide receiver T.J. Simpson and linebacker Brandon Magee. The Arizona State team that appeared to have so much promise at the end of the 2010 season- a squad that emerged victorious 30-29 against arch rival Arizona in the double overtime season finale thriller- seems to have lost a little of its potential due to injuries.
Sports Illustrated doesn't seem to think so, however. Perhaps the guys at SI are looking at how close the Sun Devils played good teams last season (losing by a combined five points to Wisconsin, USC and Stanford) or at the depth at several positions on the roster. They may be extremely bullish on starting quarterback Brock Osweiler, who had two huge games in his two starts at the end of the season .
We won't know what Sports Illustrated find most compelling about the Sun Devils. What we do know, though, is that all of the points listed above are (or in Osweiler's case, could be) extreme positives for a talented team. The Sun Devils will get an opportunity to show us all if they deserve their No. 17 ranking early on in the season (Sept. 9th), when they take on No. 22 Missouri at home.