(17) Utah Utes at (14) Arizona State Sun Devils (-6, 58.5)
A tremendous Pac-12 matchup is on tap for this weekend, as the No. 17 Utah Utes (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) travel to Tempe to take on the No. 14 Arizona State Sun Devils (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12) on Saturday (11:00 p.m. Eastern).
At 6-1, both teams probably feel a bit spurned by the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. Utah is third-last of the 17 one-loss teams in the rankings, and Utah is just three spots ahead of them. But a win on Saturday for either team should provide a big boost when the next set of rankings comes out.
Utah has won three straight and beaten ranked teams in two of those (UCLA and USC). The Utes are a balanced team that finds different ways to get the job done from week to week. Coach Kyle Whittingham has his offense ranked 28th in the nation and his defense 30th. He will need both sides of the ball on their game this weekend against a Sun Devil team that has had the Utes’ number in recent years.
“We haven’t beaten ASU in a while,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “Last year we had them on the ropes. I think we had a 10-point lead deep into the fourth quarter, and we felt like we let that one get away from us, and that was disappointing.”
Arizona State also comes in with a three-game winning streak, which includes victories over perennial powers Stanford and USC. The biggest concern for the Sun Devils this weekend is Utes running back Devontae Booker, who is top-20 in the nation with 844 rushing yards.
“The biggest difference in their team this year is their running back,” Arizona State coach Todd Graham said. “He is very physical; I don’t know him but I like him. He makes you tackle him, he runs hard, and you can tell their line has a belief in him, and it’s a team that understands you need to run the football to win.”
The Sun Devils are six-point favorites in the College Football betting odds and the total is at 58.5. For the trend-hunters and as Whittingham alluded to, the Sun Devils have won ten straight against the Utes.
(Photo credit: Shaynedwyer (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped from its original.)