Avinash: Arizona State is an odd collection this season, which makes this a potential early road game Cal is capable of stealing. Their starting quarterback Mike Bercovici is gone and whoever gets the start this year. Their experienced offensive line has been wiped near clean. Their front seven does look like it could be fierce, but they also lose almost their entire secondary. There are so many losses all over the board it's hard to see ASU being a serious contender in the South. Todd Graham's teams tend to be all over the place in terms of consistency.
Based on what you saw last year, what do you think of Cal's chances to take Arizona State in Tempe?
Nick Kranz: I'm usually not one for bold predictions, but my bold prediction is that Arizona State will be the 2nd worst team in the Pac-12 this year. They were one of the most veteran teams in the conference last year and still turned in a thoroughly mediocre performance capped by a complete melt down in Berkeley. So if the Sun Devils ARE set for a regression from last year's 6-7 performance, then it would stand to reason that they are Cal's 2nd most gettable road win, and an absolutely critical piece for any season that ends with a bowl game.
Last year, because of Jared Goff's particular skill set, ASU's defense was a particularly good match-up for Cal. I don't know if Davis Webb is going to have anywhere near the ability Goff did to exploit ASU's constantly blitzing scheme, but if he can this should be a very winnable game.
Andy Johnston: I imagine Todd Graham is a polarizing figure in Tempe after the bizarre season they had last year. If the previous matchup is any indication, Davis Webb should be able to tear apart the Sun Devils defense with any semblance of good line play. I am hoping for a convincing road win that shows the rest of the conference our elite offensive firepower.
Nik Jam: This was a roadtrip I considered as I have traveled and enjoyed the Phoenix/Tempe area, but life got in the way and it looks like I won't do any roadtrips other than San Diego (maybe USC if things fall into the right place). I think this should be a fun matchup, just like 2015, and I think it can go the Bears way again. I haven't heard any reason to think Arizona St is in a better place than they were last year, although 2015 did appear to be a shock for everyone. They may look to prove that last season was an aberration.
boomtho: I think Todd Graham is a pretty good yet very stubborn coach whose refusal to dial back the "blitz early, blitz often, blitz ALWAYS" scheme probably cost him the Cal game.
I think ASU lost a ton of talent and, given their already disappointing season last year (early Pac-12 South favorite to 4th in the South), bI would expect them to finish in the bottom half of the South as well.
I think that Cal is probably a slight favorite (60-40?) but it will still be a chippy, competitive game. Given the defensive scheme ASU has, there will a lot of big plays... potentially both ways.