What can we expect from Arizona State Football in Kenny Dillingham’s inaugural season?

Arizona State Football: What to Expect in Kenny Dillingham’s 1st Season
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On Sunday, the Arizona State Sun Devils made waves in college football by revealing Kenny Dillingham, a Chandler native and former Oregon offensive coordinator, as their new head coach.

Dillingham, a Arizona native, is the first coach born in the state to lead the school. He replaces Herm Edwards, who was fired in September after going 26-20 over five seasons in Tempe.

At 32 years old, Dillingham, a former ASU graduate assistant, is now the youngest coach at a “Power Five” school. He is taking on the challenge of leading a program that just finished its worst season in school history.

The Sun Devils ended the 2022 season with a total of 9 losses, and were defeated by Arizona in the Territorial Cup game for the first time since 2016, with a final score of 38-35 in the regular season finale.

Dillingham has come full circle, returning to Memphis after climbing the ranks from graduate assistant to offensive coordinator at Auburn, Florida State, and Oregon over the span of nearly seven years.

Yengols.com conducted an analysis of the first seasons of the last five ASU coaches to assist those interested in betting on the Sun Devils in the upcoming season.

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The performance of the last five new coaches at ASU.

Herm Edwards

  • The record for the first year in 2018 was 7-6.
  • After five seasons, concluded with a record of 26-20 before being terminated in 2022.
  • Final Win Percentage: .565

Todd Graham

  • The team completed their inaugural year in 2012 with a record of 8 wins and 5 losses.
  • In six seasons, the team had a record of 46 wins and 32 losses before ending in 2017.
  • Final Win Percentage: .590

Dennis Erickson

  • The team ended their inaugural year in 2007 with a record of 10 wins and 3 losses.
  • Total record: 31 victories and 31 defeats throughout five seasons prior to termination in 2011.
  • Final Win Percentage: .500

Dirk Koetter

  • In their inaugural year in 2001, the team finished with a record of 4 wins and 7 losses.
  • Record: 40 wins and 34 losses in a six-season period, ending in 2006.
  • Final Win Percentage: .541

Bruce Snyder

  • In their inaugural year of 1992, they finished with a record of 6 wins and 5 losses.
  • Fired in 2000 after achieving a record of 58 wins and 45 losses in 9 seasons.
  • Final Win Percentage: .563

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Average is the name of the game during Year 1 at ASU.

Reflecting on ASU’s recent past, it would be prudent for users of Arizona sports betting apps to lower their expectations for Dillingham’s first season.

This is because four of his five predecessors finished their first year in Tempe at or slightly above .500, but none of them were able to achieve long-term stability.

Dennis Erickson started his tenure as ASU coach with a strong first year, achieving a 10-3 record in the 2007 season, the best for any coach in the century. However, his performance gradually declined over the next four seasons, resulting in a final record of 31-31 by the end of his tenure.

In their debut seasons, Todd Graham (2012) and Herm Edwards (2018) both experienced some success. Graham, previously of Pitt and Tulsa, led his team to an 8-5 record, while Edwards, known for his NFL and ESPN background, finished with a 7-6 record.

Some other noteworthy first-year results were Dirk Koetter achieving a 4-7 record in 2001 and Bruce Snyder leading a 6-5 campaign in 1992.

Graham had the highest final winning percentage at .590 out of the four, with Edwards at .565, Snyder at .563, and Koetter at .541, all having similar percentages.

In ASU history, only Erickson and Rudy Lavik have finished their coaching tenures with a winning percentage below .500. Among them, Erickson is the only one who did not have an above-.500 record.

What is a reasonable expectation for the first year?

The Sun Devils possess abundant resources and recruiting prospects that enable them to compete with top teams in the Pac-12 conference such as USC, Oregon, and Washington.

Since starting in 1897, ASU has won more than 60% of its games and claimed 17 conference titles.

Dillingham will first decide on his coaching staff members and whether he will call plays himself or entrust that responsibility to another individual as the offensive coordinator for the Sun Devils.

ASU has not appeared in the Rose Bowl since 1996, when Jake Plummer led the team. From 2007 onwards, ASU has had three 10-win seasons in 2007 under Erickson, 2013 under Graham, and 2014.

In the upcoming year, Dillingham will have the opportunity to work closely with fourth-year quarterback Trenton Bourguet, who threw for 1,490 yards and 11 touchdowns in his junior season.

Similar to Lincoln Riley at USC, he will also have many opportunities to fill out the team’s roster through the NCAA transfer portal.

If Dillingham can complete any or all of those tasks by next August, the Sun Devils could be set up for a comeback in 2023.

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Author

Peterson Christopher

Peterson Christopher, with over seven years of experience covering sports and sports betting in Arizona for publications like ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly, and the Green Valley News, has now assumed the position of lead writer at yengols.com.

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