No. 16 Utah at ASU
When: 1 p.m.
Where: Sun Devil Stadium.
TV: Pac-12 Network.
ASU as a home dog
Sometimes you straight up have to pull an upset.
That’s the case for Arizona State today. No reason to pretend that the Sun Devils (4-4, 2-3 Pac-12) should be favored even coming off a win at USC, which by the way I predicted in case you missed the pick or forgot to send me props (just kidding).
Utah (6-2, 4-2) is on a big-time roll, averaging 41 points over the last four games, all victories putting the Utes in position to win the Pac-12 South for the first time.
Herm Edwards agrees that Utah is the most complete team ASU has faced now that the offense has taken off given its always elite defense (No. 7 nationally) and quality special teams.
The Sun Devils are not nearly as complete but also not a lay-up for Utah. They are improving offensively, taking a big step with 38 points vs. USC, and have been surprisingly competitive on defense from the outset. Also ASU’s kicker/punter are good enough to offset the Utes so special teams probably will come down to the better returns and perhaps again N’Keal Harry.
I liked what I saw of ASU’s offense during practice this week, making me anxious to see if some of the wrinkles can be put into practice when it counts.
Utah is No. 3 nationally in rushing defense so don’t count on Eno Benjamin carrying ASU to victory. Like against Washington and Stanford, it’s going to take a more well-rounded offense to beat Utah and probably more risk taking from offensive coordinator Rob Likens.
The Utes are a 7-point favorite and that might be low. There’s no compelling reason to pick ASU but also no evidence that the Sun Devils will get blown out.
My pick: Utah 30, ASU 24.