The Pac-12 conference is typically tough to project, and 2022 is no different.
Typical powers such as USC, Washington and Oregon all carry significant question marks riding into the season, with defending champion Utah hoping to keep the title in Salt Lake City for another year.
When it comes to the unpredictability meter, look no further than Arizona State.
The Sun Devils have powered through one of the most turbulent offseasons in program history, dealing with adversity from the NCAA investigation and the transfer portal on what truly felt like a daily basis.
However, football season is fast approaching, and headlines dominated by who said what or what potentially could happen will soon be replaced by action on the field.
Nobody knows how that action on the field will pan out, yet Pac-12 expert Jon Wilner cracked his best guess in a post-spring practice predictions piece.
Arizona State's landing spot may or may not surprise you, given the current state of the program.
Arizona State Projected to Finish Fourth in Pac-12 South
First, we'll quickly go over the Pac-12 North.
Wilner has Oregon claiming the division's top spot once again, followed by Washington State, Oregon State, Washington, Cal and Stanford.
As for the Pac-12 South, Wilner believes Utah will once again reign supreme.
"Utah’s hold on the South has grown weaker over the months, not because of anything amiss with Kyle Whittingham’s program but because of what lurks immediately below," said Wilner. "The Utes have fewer flaws and better cohesiveness than any team in either division with the vital triad (recruiting, player development and schemes) in perfect alignment. But how will the Utes respond to the kingfish role? Will they play with the same relentless drive that produced the conference title? If so, the Pac-12 might finally generate a playoff team."
Utah is followed by USC and UCLA before landing on Arizona State at No. 4.
Here's Wilner's explanation on why ASU landed where they did.
"The Sun Devils received a rare bit of good news last week when Florida quarterback Emory Jones announced his transfer to ASU — and immediately became the frontrunner for the job. We believe Jones could be the difference between a middle- and bottom-tier finish. But no evaluation of ASU would be complete without mentioning the potential for the recruiting scandal to decimate the ’22 season, with a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA forcing the immediate termination of coach Herm Edwards."
Arizona and Colorado sit behind ASU to round out the division.