Pac-12 Picks

Pac-12 Pick: Will ASU handle road conditions in Palouse?

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Note: I do not pick non-conference games and those involving Arizona (since this is an Arizona-based Web site).

Javier Morales 2013 Overall Record: 19-6 (.760).

Javier Morales Against the Spread: 18-7 (.720).

helmet.ASU

Helmet.Wazzu

ARIZONA STATE at WASHINGTON STATE

When: Tonight, 7:30, Tucson time. Where: Martin Stadium, Pullman, Wash. TV: ESPN.

Spread: ASU by 11.

When does ASU play Arizona?: Sat., Nov. 30, Sun Devil Stadium

When does Wazzu play Arizona?: Sat., Nov. 16, Arizona Stadium

Why ASU will win: The Sun Devils’ defense will put enough pressure on Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday to force mistakes. The Cougars again rank last in rushing in the Pac-12 with only 58.4 rushing yards per game. The Sun Devils have the second-best pass defense in the conference, allowing 205.3 yards passing per game. ASU QB Taylor Kelly also goes against one of the conference’s worst pass defenses in Washington State (11th allowing 268.5 yards a game).

Why Wazzu will win: ASU is a different team on the road, looking average against Stanford and Notre Dame in the process. This will be in the cold Palouse against wily veteran coach Mike Leach, whose had 12 days to prepare for ASU in those conditions in Pullman. Washington State is capable of the upset — the Cougars won at USC — by controlling field position with special teams play and limiting turnovers.

Outcome: ASU by 17.

Reason: Washington State has lost two games at home allowing more than 50 points in the process (55-17 to Stanford and 52-24 to Oregon State). ASU can put up points better than Stanford and Oregon State. The Sun Devils average 45.4 points a game, trailing only Oregon (55.6) in the Pac-12. In the end, ASU’s defense and Kelly’s ability to make big plays will subdue the Cougars, who are still a year or two away from being a threat under Leach.

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.

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