Week 12 – Washington State at Arizona State

Posted Nov 15, 2012

Week 12 Fearless Prediction – Washington State at Arizona State

Washington State (2-8) at Arizona State (5-5) Nov. 17, 3:00, Pac-12 Networks

Here's The Deal: Arizona State and Washington State are hemorrhaging, on and off the field as the 2012 season comes to a close

An already rough season for Wazzu hit new depths after star WR Marquess Wilson, citing "physical, emotional and verbal abuse" from Mike Leach's coaching staff. The allegations rocked the program, overshadowing any of its seven consecutive losses leading up to this week's game in Tempe. Leach's tenure at Texas Tech ended in scandal and similar accusations, casting a pall over his current school. The Cougars did play with a lot of heart in Week 11, rallying from a 44-14 deficit to UCLA to almost send the game to overtime.

The Sun Devils are sinking … and fast. Not long ago a trendy pick to compete in the Pac-12, they're still not bowl eligible thanks to a four-game losing streak. As the schedule has stiffened, Arizona State has gotten exposed by the league's more talented members. Last Saturday, as an exclamation point, it hung with USC for a half before getting lit up in the final two quarters.

Why Washington State Might Win: Apparently, there's no quit in these Cougars.

Wazzu impressed Leach by outscoring the ranked Bruins 29-7 in the second half. With QB Jeff Tuel injured, Connor Halliday stepped up to throw for 330 yards and five touchdowns. Despite feeling constant pressure—and not having access to Wilson—the seasoned backup connected often with Dominique Williams, Bobby Ratliff and Gabe Marks. Whoever gets the start this week will be facing a Sun Devils defense that's given up at least 36 points in each of the last four games.

Why Arizona State Might Win: QB Taylor Kelly has lost his way. This week, he gets back on track.

The sophomore will relish an opportunity to face a mediocre opponent that starts a bunch of rookies, and is unproven in the defensive backfield. The Sun Devils figure to get back to the balance they enjoyed in September, finding ways to get the ball in the hands of H-back Chris Coyle and versatile rookie RB D.J. Foster. No, ASU isn't prolific, but it does a nice job of spreading the wealth and, prior to last weekend, limiting the number of mistakes and turnovers.

What To Watch Out For: Will Sutton is back, troubling news for a young and vulnerable Washington State O-line.

The ASU junior, one of the premier defensive tackles in America, missed time in October with a knee bruise, but has returned to pick up a sack in each of the last two games. He also chipped in with eight tackles and two stops for minus yards against USC last Saturday, flashing the quickness and tenacity that'll make him a high NFL Draft pick in 2013 or 2014. When No. 90 is on the loose, it makes it so much harder to contain DE Carl Bradford and LB Chris Young.

What Will Happen: The schedule is softening for a weekend. Welcome back, Sun Devils from the first half of 2012.

Arizona State may have lost its way for a month, but it'll use a visit from a troubled Washington State team to get back on track, and achieve bowl eligibility. The Devils will methodically move the ball down the field on the Cougars, while their own D abuses Wazzu at the point of attack. Tuel and Halliday might post meaty numbers on Saturday, but only because they'll spend the second half heaving the ball in comeback mode.

CFN Prediction: Arizona State 43 … Washington State 20
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Arizona State -21 O/U: 62
Must Watch Rating (5 – Killing Them Softly, 1 – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2): 2