RIVALRY WEEK: The Devils’ Best Interest in the PAC-12
Cameron Johnson
By Cameron Johnson,
November 29, 2013 10:54 PM

Ideally, Stanford will have a tough battle with Notre Dame that wears players down and exposes some weaknesses to ASU

It’s rivalry week and the final regular season match-ups in the Pac-12.

Two Pac-12 games were played on Friday between the Washington schools and the Oregon schools. At home, the Huskies took back the “Apple Cup” from the Cougars, winning 27-17.  And in Autzen, the “Civil War” came down to the final minute when the Ducks scored a touchdown to secure a narrow 36-35 victory over the Beavers.

After locking up the South division last week, the Sun Devils now control their own destiny in the quest for the Rose Bowl. But in an unexpected twist, this week provides some intrigue, including the possibility of ASU hosting the Pac-12 championship in Tempe. There are also some other interesting match-ups throughout the conference, but none as big as the one in Tempe Saturday night.


Arizona @ #12 Arizona State

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This game is huge on so many fronts. It is the last regular season game for both programs. It could be the last home game for ASU seniors, yet it is also opportunity for the Devils to host one more game at Sun Devil Stadium for the right to go to the Rose Bowl.  

Then there is the battle for the Territorial Cup, the oldest rivalry trophy in the country. The Wildcats come to town confident after putting a whooping on Oregon last week at home. However, ASU has had their own quiet confidence all season. Saturday night will be no different.

It looks as if ASU running back Marion Grice will not be available for the game, which is a huge blow. On offense, the game plan will be a little different without Grice, but the Devils have enough firepower to take down the Cats at home. On the other side of the ball, the proud Sun Devil D have the task of disrupting the effectiveness of UA running back Ka’Deem Carey, who is one of the best in all of college football.
The Devils are favored by 10.5 points, which is a large spread for a rivalry game. I think ASU will win, but it will be another nail biter.

#25 Notre Dame @ #8 Stanford

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On the surface this game doesn’t seem that important since Stanford has already clinched the Pac-12 North. However, on closer inspection this game is huge. There are a lot of teams ranked in the Top 10 that play this week.

A Stanford win combined with a couple of a loss or two by other top teams could put them around #5 in the BCS rankings as they enter the conference championship game vs ASU. Ideally, Stanford will avenge last years controversial loss to the Irish but have a tough battle that wears players down and expose some weaknesses that would hamper them against the Sun Devils. Stanford is favored by 14.5 points.

#22 UCLA @ #23 USC

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This one will be fun to watch. Both teams hate each other; both teams lost to ASU; and both teams sit back-to-back in the polls. The Trojans are 3 point favorites here and I think they will pull off this win that seemed almost impossible six weeks ago.

Expect the Bruins to come out flat, still feeling the sting of losing the Pac-12 South division to the Sun Devils. On the other hand, the Trojans are playing inspired football under their interim coach Ed Orgeron. Most of the fans and players want Coach “O” to become the permanent head coach. With a win against their cross town rival combined with their new-found success, it would be an unpopular move to deny Orgeron the job.


Colorado @ Utah

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There’s not much to say here. Neither team will be going to a bowl game, and the Pac-12‘s newest programs are still fighting for relevance. Utah is favored by 16.5 at home.

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As families across the Pac-12 conference gather to give thanks this weekend, Sun Devils fans can be thankful that they have already locked up the South division, and now have the shot to host the Pac-12 championship game by defeating their bitter rival on Saturday night.

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