Arizona State Sun Devils
(5-6, 7-2-2 ATS)
(7-4, 6-5 ATS)
It’ll be a “Desert Storm” on Thursday night at the U of A, as the Arizona Wildcats tussle with their instate rivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils in a very heated rivalry game in the Pac-10.
You might look at Arizona State and think this is a game for bowl eligibility, but HC Dennis Erickson has be kicking himself for scheduling two NCAA football betting affairs against FCS teams. As a result, even finishing .500 won’t get the job done for ASU unless the NCAA changes its ruling and lets the Sun Devils go bowling due to the fact that they had to schedule Portland State instead of the San Jose State Spartans at the last moment. Still, in all likelihood, this is the last game of the campaign for QB Steven Threet and company. Threet might not be able to finish this season off, as he is dealing with a concussion that very well could keep him out of the lineup. If that’s the case, QB Brock Osweiler will get the nod for the second straight game. The sophomore made his first career start last week against the UCLA Bruins, and my, did he shine! Osweiler threw for 380 yards and four TDs, and he looked like a modern day Joe Montana out there for the Sun Devils. ASU’s problem is a defense which has allowed at least 31 points to five of its seven Pac-10 foes on the season.
Arizona’s offense can certainly take advantage of that problem, especially with QB Nick Foles back in the lineup. The offense hasn’t quite looked the same against the Stanford Cardinal, USC Trojans, and Oregon Ducks as it did against the rest of its schedule this year, but there is no reason to believe that Foles and company, especially back at home for just the second time since the week before Halloween, can’t make amends. Still, on the whole of the season, the Cats are averaging 452.5 yards and 29.8 points per game, stats which rank them towards the top of the Pac-10. Foles has a change to become a 3,000 yard passer in this game, as he has 2,649 yards and 16 scores against seven picks on the campaign, and we know that he can go off for 300+ yards against any team in the nation. As always, his top target is going to be WR Juron Criner, who has 68 catches, 1,102 yards, and eight TDs on the campaign. He is coming off of a game in which he only caught three passes against the Oregon Ducks, but he had 109 yards and two scores to show for his work.
The Sun Devils might have one of the best ATS records in the country, but that doesn’t mean that they are worth backing in this one. The Wildcats, especially if Threet doesn’t play, have a huge advantage here at home, and we fully expect them to parlay that into a ‘W’ by at least a TD in this rivalry game on Thursday night.
College Football Free Pick: Arizona Wildcats -5.5