2015 season preview: Arizona State Sun Devils

With his powerful arm, Mike Bercovici will be looking to take his share of shots downfield in 2015. Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

Previewing the 2015 season for the Arizona State Sun Devils:

2014 record: 10-3

Final grade for 2014: A-minus

Key losses: WR Jaelen Strong, QB Taylor Kelly, OT Jamil Douglas, DT Marcus Hardison, S Damarious Randall

Key returnees: WR D.J. Foster, C Nick Kelly, OG Christian Westerman, LB Viliami Moeakiola, CB Lloyd Carrington

Most important player: QB Mike Bercovici owns one of the best arms in the Pac-12, which means he can throw the ball downfield more aggressively than Kelly did. While the Sun Devils are uncertain at receiver, they have plenty of talent. If Bercovici is efficient while being aggressive, this offense could be tough to slow down.

Impact newcomer: Wide receiver Devin Lucien is a graduate transfer from UCLA. He's got plenty of Pac-12 experience and figures to become the Sun Devils' No. 2 target in the passing game. He also might be able to help with game planning before the critical road matchup with the Bruins on Oct. 3.

Best-case scenario for 2015: 11-1, Pac-12 champions. Arizona State has enough talent to become a legitimate contender to win the conference and become part of the College Football Playoff discussion.

Worst-case scenario for 2015: 7-5, fifth in South Division. The opener against Texas A&M in Houston will be a challenge, the South Division is deep, and the Sun Devils play a tough crossover schedule that includes Oregon. This could be a very good team -- only one that loses four or five games.

Class of 2015 signee to watch: The Sun Devils won a tough recruiting battle for defensive tackle Joseph Wicker, and he’ll get an opportunity to prove himself right away. Jay Jay Wilson and Kareem Orr are two others who could make early impacts, but Arizona State coaches will give Wicker every chance to play this season. If things click quickly for him, he’ll be a known commodity before too long. -- Erik McKinney

Class of 2016 storyline: Although the Sun Devils have just 11 commitments at this point, it is a very strong national class, with the top seven commits in the class hailing from seven different states. There is plenty of room to add more bodies to the class and starting locally will be a priority, as the top five prospects in the state -- N'Keal Harry, Garrett Rand, Byron Murphy, Chase Lucas and Connor Murphy -- are all still uncommitted. It’s also worth keeping an eye on Texas and Louisiana, as the Sun Devils have found recent success in both states. -- Erik McKinney

Biggest remaining question mark: The Sun Devils are replacing both offensive tackles, and neither spot is certain entering fall camp. Protecting Bercovici's flanks will be critical because he's less mobile than Kelly was.

Breakout player: Kalen Ballage is expected to play both running back and "Devil" linebacker as a pass-rushing specialist -- not to mention return kicks -- but part of the reason he'll go both ways is that hopes are high that Demario Richard can become an elite running back as a true sophomore.

Most important game: Every game matters in the rugged South, but the Sun Devils can announce themselves to the nation if they beat USC at home on Sept. 26. Last year, ASU beat the Trojans on a Hail Mary pass. This year, the Trojans are viewed as national title contenders. Should be an intense atmosphere in Sun Devil Stadium.

Upset watch: At California on Nov. 28. A week after playing for revenge at home against bitter rival Arizona, the Sun Devils have to venture north to play the Bears in the season finale, which could set up not only as a proverbial letdown game but also as a matchup with high stakes, such as first in the South. Lucien, with his UCLA experience, knows a little about fumbling a season finale after whipping an archrival.

Projected 2015 finish: 9-3