Pac-12 Championship Game Pick: Stanford vs. Arizona State
Date/Time: December 7th, 7:45 ET
College Football Odds from BetDSI
Point Spread: Arizona State -3
A bid to the Rose Bowl is on the line for the Stanford Cardinal and the Arizona State Sun Devils, and in all likelihood, it will be that the winner goes to the Granddaddy of Them All, while the loser is kicked out of the BCS bowl games altogether.
Stanford still could have a conceivable shot of having everything go right to get into the National Championship Game, though it is about as likely as pigs flying over this game. The Cardinal have had a good season, but losses against a pair of unranked teams on the road (USC and Utah) definitely have us concerned as to whether this particular edition of the team can really play or not. The fact of the matter is that we think this team has underachieved for the most part. Forget about those bad losses. Those are givens as bad realities. This defense though, which was billed as one of the best in America, only finished the first 12 games of the season out ranked 13th in scoring defense and 16th in total defense. That’s not going to cut it for a team that, quite frankly, doesn’t have a very good offense at all.
The Sun Devils have quietly gone 10-2, and they are clearly deserving of being here in the Pac-12 Championship Game and hosting the clash in spite of the fact that they were beaten by this Stanford team earlier this year. It is the only team in the conference that only has one loss in conference play out of the nine games, and that’s definitely saying something. ASU has a real star in the making in RB Marion Grice, who is clearly going to have a place on an NFL roster at the next level. He isn’t the best running back in the world, but he has great hands out of the backfield, and it isn’t an accident that he has 50 catches for 438 yards and six TDs. Think of him as RB Danny Woodhead with some extra carries thrown in there. WR Jaelen Strong gave the Cardinal all sorts of problems when these teams met the first time, and he is one of the few receivers in the Pac-12 which had 1,000+ yard campaigns. Strong finished with 69 catches, 1,067 yards and seven scores.
We really think that the general public is underrating Arizona State in this game. Stanford might have the better record and what is perceived to be a better defense and better team in general, but this home field advantage is going to be a big deal. The Cardinal really didn’t play well on the road this year, and they didn’t play well in situations when they were pressured. The Sun Devils are going to do just that on Saturday, and we think they are going to be heading to Pasadena when push comes to shove.
Stanford Cardinal vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Pick: Arizona State Sun Devils -3