No one is expecting a National Championship run from the University of Arizona Wildcats or Arizona State University Sun Devils football team.
There are no expectations for a Pac-10 Conference title. Hopes of a five or six-win season and a bowl appearance is reasonable. The Wildcats finished the season 7-5 and the Sun Devils finished with a 5-7 record.
Both teams would like to improve upon last season. But is it possible with new parts in key spots?
What can be expected is that the Sun Devils and Wildcats open their seasons tomorrow with dominating performances at home en route to a 1-0 record.
But is there a chance one, or both, could fall short and fall victim to an upset? Here are some predictions and upset percentages.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils open the season against the Idaho State Bengals at 7 p.m. Saturday at Sun Devils Stadium. The Sun Devils are expected to crush the Bengals--and chances are they will. Idaho State finished the season with a 1-11 record and had lost 11 games in a row, before defeating Sacramento State in the season finale.
ASU has more talent, but it will not be running on all cylinders. Starting receiver Kerry Taylor and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy will not play Saturday. ASU quarterback Danny Sullivan will make his first career start. He has been solid in camp, but not spectacular. He will have the luxury of facing a defense which surrendered 41 points per a game.
Prediction: ASU 42, Idaho State 3
Chance of upset: 10 percent.
Arizona: The Arizona Wildcats will face the Western Michigan Chippewas at 6 p.m. at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats also have a debut--or two--at the quarterback position. U of A head coach Mike Stoops announced last week the Wildcats will play two quarterbacks in the season opener. He has yet to make a decision on a permanent No. 1 quarterback.
This game will be sort of an extended audition for sophomores Nick Foles and Matt Scott. The competition seemed to be over, with Scott as the winner, before Foles made a late run and threw the decision in the air again. Neither has been able to distance themselves from the other. Foles is known for his strong arm and Scott is known for his athletic ability. The Wildcats will have inexperience at a key position which could give the Chippewa's defense an early edge and swing momentum in the first half.
The Wildcats will have a formidable foe in their season opener, one which has enjoyed stability at the quarterback positon for the last three seasons. The Chippewas finished the year with an 8-5 record. Western Michigan is led by senior quarterback Dan Lefevour who, along with Florida's Tim Tebow in 2007, became the only players in college football to throw and rush for 20 touchdowns in a season. Lefevour also passed for 3,000 yards and rushed for 1,000. He threw 26 touchdown passes last season and rushed for six. The Wildcats said stopping Lefevour is one of their main focuses.
Prediction: Western Michigan 33, Arizona 27
Chances of upset: 55 percent.