Arizona over ASU - Pac-12 play of the year
By Jeff Frank, The Sports Analyst
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Arizona State locked up the Pac-12's South Division title last week with a five-point road victory over UCLA. The Sun Devils now have a date with Stanford on Dec. 7 in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
However, there is still a battle needing to be played this Saturday against archrival Arizona. The Wildcats come to Tempe off their finest performance of the season - a 42-16 romp over Oregon. That victory snapped a two-game losing streak to UCLA and Washington State.
Technically, it does not really matter how each team fared in its last game since the better squad has not had much success in this matchup in recent years. In fact, only one time has the favorite covered since 2004.
Last year, Arizona was home and favored by 2.5 points. Arizona State walked out of Tucson with a 41-34 victory. Two years ago, ASU was giving Arizona over 10 points and the Wildcats pulled off the upset win. Arizona was favored by five points in 2010 and Arizona State came away with the outright victory. Given how this series has played out, the odds are strong Arizona will cover the double-digit spread.
Look for running back Ka'Deem Carey to keep the Wildcats in the game as Arizona State is allowing 3.7 yards per carry. On the other side, Arizona is ranked 29th nationally in scoring defense so it is doubtful the Sun Devils will score in the upper 30s as they did last week against UCLA.
Take Arizona plus 13 points in the first of three three-star plays.
OTHER THREE-STAR CHOICES
Staying in the Pac-12, Oregon has not been the same team since defeating Washington by three touchdowns in the middle of October. Since then, the Ducks led the likes of Washington State and Utah by only 10 points at halftime, were tied with UCLA at the half and lost to both Stanford and Arizona.
They began the season 5-0 ATS but have covered just one of their last five. In addition, an offense that averaged 56 ppg in its first six contests has averaged just 30.5 in its last four.
Oregon State comes to Eugene on a four-game losing streak with an offense that forgot how to score. After seven games, the Beavers averaged 44 ppg but since their 49-17 victory over California, they barely have totaled 44 points scoring 12, 14, 17 and 27 in their four losses.
Turnovers have killed the Beavers as quarterback Sean Mannion has thrown 10 interceptions the last three games. Still, they lost only one of those contests by more than 17 points.
Take Oregon State plus 21.5 points.
Louisiana might have the Sun Belt Conference title wrapped up prior to playing its game against ULM.
Arkansas State plays at Western Ky. three hours before the Ragin' Cajuns host the Warhawks and a loss to the Hilltoppers will bring Arkansas State's record to 5-2. Even if the Red Wolves defeat Western Ky., it is not a lock that Louisiana cruises past ULM.
Despite their unbeaten league record, the Ragin' Cajuns have not played their best ball of late failing to cover their last three games. Their defense has allowed three touchdowns or more in all three contests.
ULM is battling for a .500 overall record and a 4-3 conference mark. A win over Louisiana will do just that for a team that had high hopes entering the season.
The last time these two teams met in Lafayette the home team squeaked out a 36-35 victory. Expect another close game on Saturday.
Take ULM plus 15 points.
Go with Texas -4.5 (Texas Tech), Toledo -7.5 (Akron), Fresno State -7.5 (San Jose St), Michigan +14.5 (Ohio State), Syracuse +2.5 (Boston College), Georgia Tech +3.5 (Georgia) and Missouri -4.5 (Texas A&M).
Take SMU +9.5 (Houston), Texas State +7 (Troy), Temple +8.5 (Memphis) and Georgia State +9 (South Alabama).
THIS YEAR'S RECORD
After 13 weeks, my record stands at 79-71-3 following an 8-5 week. There were zero five-star plays so that overall record stands at 12-7 overall. The three- star selections went 3-1 for a 16-17-1 total. The two-star choices finished 3-3 for a 32-27 overall mark and the one-star plays went 2-1 for a 19-20-2 total.
THIS WEEK'S JEFF FRANK "DIRTY DOZEN"
1) Florida State, 114; 2) Alabama, 109.5; 3) Oregon, 105.5; 4) Oklahoma State, 104.5; 5) Baylor, 104; 6) Wisconsin, 103.5; 7) Ohio State, 103; 8-T) Stanford and LSU, 101.5; 10-T) Missouri and Arizona State, 101; 12) Clemson, 100.5
(The Dirty Dozen is not a reflection of a given team's won-loss record. It is based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the beginning of the season, all FBS teams are assigned a power number, which changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous week.)
11/27 13:12:55 ET