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Week 8 - Washington at Arizona State
Posted Oct 16, 2013

Week 8 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Washington at Arizona State

Week 8 
USC at Notre Dame
- UCLA at Stanford
- Washington at Arizona State
-- CSU at Colorado, Utah at Arizona
- Wazzu at Oregon, Oregon St at Cal

Washington (4-2) at Arizona State (4-2) Oct. 19, 6:00, Pac-12 Networks

Why You Should Give A Hoot: There’s a line forming behind Pac-12 frontrunner Oregon. Washington and Arizona State are two of the more prominent programs jockeying for position in the Ducks’ rear view mirror. Just how mentally tough are the No. 20 Huskies? They played really well in the last two games, but were unable to knock off Stanford or Oregon. U-Dub needs to decide right now, in Tempe, where it goes from here. The talent is in place to be one of the 15 or so best teams in the country, but the scars from three straight 7-6 seasons have not completely healed. The Sun Devils were a mild disappointment in the first half. A South Division sleeper when the season began, ASU was outclassed by Stanford and lost to Notre Dame. Heck, if not for some hideous officiating in the Wisconsin game, it could easily be sitting at .500.

Why Washington Might Win: Assuming their heads are in the right place, the Huskies are the more complete team in this game. They boast the better backfield, led by QB Keith Price and Bishop Sankey. But, even more important, Washington’s D has been a solid cut above ASU’s through six games. Even after facing Oregon, which can throw stats out of whack, U-Dub ranks in the Top 25 in sacks, pass efficiency, scoring defense and total D. It plays fast and hard, limiting damage in the passing game. Led by S Sean Parker and CB Marcus Peters, the Huskies only allow 5.5 yards a pass.

Why Arizona State Might Win: The Sun Devils are catching the Huskies at the right time and in the right place, in Tempe just after the Stanford and Oregon games. ASU is coming off its most complete game of the season, a 54-13 rout of Colorado that allowed the starters to rest in the second half. It has the offensive balance needed to keep Washington guessing, nuancing the running of Marion Grice with the accurate throws of Taylor Kelly. On defense, Arizona State will make mistakes, but it’ll also make things happen, ranking second in the Pac-12 with 15 takeaways.

Who To Watch Out For: Arizona State DT Will Sutton is off to a quiet start to 2013. Way too quiet. After blowing through opposing lines last fall, he’s only managed to make 2.5 plays for minus yards. Yeah, opponents are scheming to stop him, but he’s much better than he’s shown so far this year.

- Price’s leadership skills will be on full display this weekend. The Huskies are at a fork in the road. They’ll be looking to their senior quarterback to help lead them past the losses of the last two weeks.

- Price has been especially sharp on third downs so far this season. If the Sun Devils can’t force punts, their defense will be gassed in the second half. The biggest challenge will be to blanket a deepening corps of receivers that’s getting more consistency from the likes of Jaydon Mickens, Kevin Smith and Kasen Williams.

What Will Happen: Washington failed to end its losing streak to Oregon last week. This Saturday, it ends Arizona State’s dominance, which has lived since 2002. The Huskies are better than the Sun Devils in key areas, such as line play and the back seven. Serving notice that this is not the same old U-Dub, it’ll go on the road to earn a quality win that’ll set the stage for a strong second half.

Prediction: Washington 36 … Arizona State 28
Line: Arizona State -3 – O/U: 66
Must See Rating: (5 Bad Grandpa – 1 Vanilla Ice Goes Amish) … 3.5
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