Week 9 - UCLA at Arizona State

Posted Oct 25, 2012

Week 9 Fearless Prediction – UCLA at Arizona State

UCLA (5-2) at Arizona State (5-2) Oct. 27, 3:00, FX

Here's The Deal: The South Division of the Pac-12 is about to get more clarity this weekend.

With USC traveling to Tucson and UCLA headed to Tempe, the division will see a little more separation by Sunday morning. Arizona State is looking to rebound from a dreadful loss last Thursday night to Oregon, a 43-21 beating that was far worse than even the score indicated. Still, this is a talented Sun Devils team with a lot of promise and a goal of getting a second crack at the Ducks on Nov. 30.

The Bruins are coming out of a well-placed bye week knowing that it has a five-game season to determine how this

Why UCLA Might Win: The Arizona State defense looked like a shell of its former self after DT Will Sutton injured his knee last week. Sutton is not yet assured of playing this Saturday.

The Sun Devils were eminently beatable on the ground, a trend UCLA will look to continue this weekend. RB Johnathan Franklin is on the 1,000-yard doorstep, and will be refreshed after spending a week without contact. He's joined by dual-threat QB Brett Hundley, who is making a homecoming of sorts back to Arizona. Defensively, the Bruins' assertive 3-4 alignment will cause fits for a beatable ASU O-line, pressing it with DE Datone Jones and LB Anthony Barr.

Why Arizona State Might Win: Before the Ducks debacle, the Sun Devils were having their way with the likes of Utah, Cal and Colorado in the Pac-12.

UCLA isn't Oregon, which means Arizona State can get back to what it does well, running a balanced offense and covering a lot of ground defensively. The Bruins lack consistency on defense, providing an opening for ASU to mix the passing of Taylor Kelly with the running of a deep stable of backs. Kelly is a lot better than he was on Thursday, and the ground troops go three deep. Obviously, the Devils D is infinitely better with Sutton, who'd be unstoppable against the overmatched UCLA blockers. However, even without him, the unit can cover a ton of ground with the likes of Devil Carl Bradford, Spur Chris Young and LB Brandon Magee.

What To Watch Out For: Can UCLA stop a diligent and deep running game? Arizona State will attempt to answer that question early.

Power running teams with stacked backfields, like Nebraska and Cal, have given the Bruins problems this fall. The Sun Devils have three quality—and complementary—backs in Cameron Marshall, Marion Grice and D.J. Foster. They're all talented pass-catchers as well, providing Kelly with valuable assets in the flat to beef up a modest corps of wide receivers.

What Will Happen: If, as expected, Sutton is back to his old self, the Sun Devils are going to roll. If not, they'll rally and still find a way to win.

This is an interesting matchup between two schools with rookie head coaches trying to redirect where their programs are headed. The winner is not only bowl-eligible, but will remain in USC's hip pocket in the South Division. Arizona State is about to revert back to its pre-Oregon form, especially in Tempe. It's a quality squad, with only minor shortcomings on either side of the ball. The Devils will spread the ball around to expose the weaknesses in the UCLA D, while flying all over the field to prevent Franklin and Hundley from taking the game over.

CFN Prediction: Arizona State 31 … UCLA 23
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Arizona State -6.5 O/U: 57.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Girl, 1 – Don't Trust The B In Apt. 23): 3