(13) Arizona State Sun Devils at (11) Arizona Wildcats
Hoping to capture the Pac-12 South crown, both Arizona State and Arizona need a win this Friday (plus some help from UCLA). The Sun Devils and Wildcats kick-off at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
Both teams enter with identical 9-2 overall records and 6-2 Pac-12 records. This is the first time since 1986 that both teams are ranked for their annual clash. UCLA – also 6-2 in the Pac-12 – holds the tie-breaker over both squads. But, if the Bruins lose to Stanford, the winner of this game will be the division champ and meet Oregon in the Pac-12 championship game.
“This game is the single most important game of the year for us and for our fans,” Sun Devils coach Todd Graham said. “Obviously it has a lot more meaning, both teams are going for their tenth win and the Pac-12 South championship is on the line, there is definitely a little extra importance added to this game.”
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez echoed those sentiments. “I think it has become more relevant nationally now because of the seasons we are both having,” Rodriguez said. “You know that for your fans, particularly in state, that the rivalry game is going to mean a lot to them, but I promise it doesn’t mean any more to them than it does to the players and coaches.”
Saturday’s tilt promises to be a high-scoring affair. Arizona State averages 37.2 points per game (18th in the nation) and allows 26.4 (65th). Arizona average 36.2 (22nd in the country) and allows 24.6 (54th). The oddsmakers see it that way, as well, with the over/under sitting at 62.
The Sun Devils had been in the hunt for a playoff spot until last week, when they dropped a 35-27 decision to the Oregon State Beavers, a game they were favored to win by 9.5.
Now, Arizona State comes in as a 2.5-point road dog to the Wildcats. But Arizona has not fared well against their instate rivals for betting purposes. The Wildcats are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine home games against Arizona State.
(Photo credit: Neon Tommy (Flickr: IMG_4531) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)