(6) Arizona State Sun Devils (-9.5, 60 o/u) at Oregon State Beavers
So far, the College Football Playoff Selection Committee has issued three sets of weekly rankings. With each new ranking, Arizona State (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) has moved up. The Sun Devils were 14th in the inaugural poll; now, with just three regular season games left (plus the Pac-12 title game, should they make it that far), they sit sixth, two spots out of the all-important top-four. Tonight, the Sun Devils face a lesser opponent in Oregon State (4-5, 1-5 Pac-12), meaning they will have to win – and win big – in order to impress the committee. The Sun Devils and Beavers kick-off at 10:45 p.m. Eastern at Reser Stadium, in Corvallis.
Arizona State’s only loss this season – a 62-27 drubbing at home against UCLA – came all the way back in week 4. And, while it was clearly the defense that was the main problem in that game, it is worth mentioning that starting QB Taylor Kelly missed the contest against UCLA with an injury. Since the loss to UCLA, the Sun Devils have won five straight, including four over ranked teams. Back-up QB Mike Bercovici was at the helm for the first two, but Kelly has been back under center for the last three, including last week’s 55-31 win over then-No. 10 Notre Dame.
Arizona State coach Todd Graham was happy with the win over the Irish, but was careful not to overemphasize its importance.
“It definitely has to be right there at the top [of our wins],” said Graham. “But our top priority and goal is to win the Pac-12 championship, the Rose Bowl, and then obviously the national championship and we haven’t accomplished those goals yet and we have to move on in the locker room and get ready for Oregon State.”
Oregon State has only one win inside the Pac-12, and that came against the conference’s only winless team: the Colorado Buffaloes. The Beavers have lost their last four, including a 39-32 loss to Washington State last weekend. That loss dropped the Beavers to the bottom of the North Division, but the team is doing its best to stay positive.
“All we have to know is these (losing streaks) happen in sports and not let it get to us, even if it’s hard to swallow,” said Oregon State senior tailback Terron Ward.
Arizona State is a 9.5-point road favorite. If you’re looking for a trend, Arizona State is 1-5 SU in its last six road games against Oregon State. But, as I said off the top, the Sun Devils will need to win big against a struggling Beavers squad if they want to keep moving up in the rankings.
(Photo credit: Neon Tommy (Flickr: IMG_3703) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)