Underdog Sun Devils Threaten Stanford in Pac-12

Published on 18-Sep-2013 by Alan Adamsson

Football - NCAA    NCAA Football Daily Stake

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Underdog Sun Devils Threaten Stanford in Pac-12

The Arizona State Sun Devils turned some heads with a victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in Week 2.

OK, they didn't turn enough zebra heads, but that's another story.

Still, the Sun Devils have climbed into the No 23 spot in the polls as a result.

This Saturday, Arizona State will look to build upon about 58 minutes of that momentum and beat the college football odds yet again, this time lined up against the No 5 Stanford Cardinal.

Not only do the Sun Devils face their presumably highest-ranked opponent of the 2013 season, it’s also a conference rival to boot. Considering the uncertainty in the Pac-12 early this year, it’s games like these that could be the difference between a year of contention and a year on the proverbial sidelines.

The Stanford Cardinal have 14:1 odds of winning the BCS National Championship this season, so if Arizona State wants to build on their reputation, a mid-September victory could go a long way.

Early college football odds lean in favor of the Cardinal -- Bovada has them at -7½  as shown in its data tool on the Home page -- but moneyline superiority clearly wasn’t enough to protect the Badgers last Saturday.

Venturing into The Farm during the fall has been hazardous in recent years, and Coach David Shaw continues to have success bucking the trend of high-speed offenses, relying instead on a power game that benefits from bulky tight ends with good hands as part of that bulldozer line that's become a Stanford mainstay.

Sounds like Wisconsin, doesn't it?

On the surface, then, it looks like the Sun Devils have a tall order. The Cardinal are a better team than the Badgers, and they're playing Arizona State at home.

This has traditionally been an even series. This time around, it looks like it's Stanford's turn to prevail. But giving a major with a kicker? Also a tall order.

Despite the assumption that the Pac-12 will come down to Oregon and Stanford for the title, this conference is more wide open than most national observers believe. And this game will be a prime example of it.