NCAA Football Free Pick: Stanford Cardinal vs. Arizona State Sun Devils
(8-1, 5-4 ATS)
Arizona State Sun Devils
(4-5, 6-2-1 ATS)
Even though the Stanford Cardinal are ranked No. 9 in the land, the oddsmakers aren’t so in love of their chances against a team with just two wins against FBS opponents this year, the Arizona State Sun Devils.
The Cardinal probably know that they are going to end up in the BCS if they run the table, and this is most likely their hardest game left in the campaign. HC John Harbaugh knows that the National Championship isn’t totally out of the question, nor is a trip to the Rose Bowl, though the most likely destination would be the Fiesta Bowl if everyone holds serve. QB Andrew Luck is poised to become one of the top picks, if not the top pick in the NFL Draft this coming season, and for good reason. Could this be a Heisman Trophy finalist? Luck sure believes so, as he has thrown for 2,213 yards and 22 TDs this year. However, Luck would be nowhere without RB Stepfan Taylor, who just continues to light it up on the ground. A great game would put him at the 1,000 yard mark for the year, though that likely won’t come until next week. Taylor has rumbled for 810 yards and 11 TDs on the campaign. The offense just destroyed the Arizona defense last week, ripping it apart for 42 points. That marked yet another game with at least 35 points on the board, something that Stanford has done in every single game this season.
Arizona State has a lethal home field advantage though, and in spite of the fact that it only has four wins for the season, none of which are really of any note, this is a dangerous spot. The Sun Devils have close losses against the Wisconsin Badgers, Oregon State Beavers, and USC Trojans, and the only really bad loss came against the Cal Golden Bears in Berkeley. QB Steven Threet has to be happy that he has gotten out of the mess in Ann Arbor, but he really hasn’t taken the most advantage of that this year. Threet has thrown for 2,372 yards and 17 TDs, but he has been picked off 15 times as well. He has no problem spreading the pigskin around, as he has nine different receivers with least 11 catches and five with at least 20. This is the biggest game of the season for the Sun Devils, who need to win out to get to a bowl game. If not, HC Dennis Erickson could find himself in a heck of a lot of trouble in this offseason.
The oddsmakers are right that this is going to be a close run thing, but we just tend to think that Luck is going to outdo Threet in the clutch, just as he has done to virtually every other quarterback in the Pac-10 this season. Arizona State will suffer another heartbreaking loss, but this one will come by more than the number.
College Football Expert Pick: Stanford Cardinal -4.5
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