The state of Arizona has seen better days for college football. Or at least the first release of power rankings for the Pac-12 would suggest this is the case. With the conference expected to be very tough, talented and deep in 2012, the Arizona Wildcats and Arizona St. Sun Devils will enter projected for the bottom half of the conference and South Division.
We have a look at one of the first power rankings of the preseason after the jump.
These rankings are from National Football Post. They were conducted following the conclusion of spring practice.
The Wildcats come in 9th in the Pac-12, which isn't too bad considering all of the turnover they faced this offseason. While the offense has a chance to be pretty successful with Matt Scott at the helm, the defense presents some serious issues. Here is what NFP had to say about the team.
The Wildcats had difficulty adjusting to new head coach Rich Rodriguez's spread offense this spring, but they improved by the end of camp. While it will be an adjustment for the team's skill position players, quarterback Matt Scott has the talent to run this system. The concern is whether he can stay healthy because this team will be in trouble if he goes down with injury. The biggest offseason coup for Rich Rod was getting defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel from West Virginia, something he was unable to do when he arrived at Michigan. Like Charlie Weis at Kansas, Rodriguez will only succeed if his teams play defense. A healthy Jonathan McKnight in the secondary could do wonders for a defense that has question marks at linebacker and end.
The Sun Devils entered the power rankings at No. 11, ahead of just the Colorado Buffaloes. The team loses a ton from last year and will need to gel quickly if they hope to reach a bowl game under new coach Todd Graham.
Todd Graham is the new boss in Tempe, and he'll have a deep backfield running behind a good offensive line. But there are question marks at quarterback and receiver. The team suffered key losses on defense, so the return of linebacker Brandon Magee will help. However, despite the fact that ASU underachieved last year, this team lost a lot of good talent.