TEMPE AZ - NOVEMBER 26: General view of action between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the UCLA Bruins during the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 26 2010 in Tempe Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Yesterday, we talked about the first six games of the Sun Devils' 2011 season. While we have several tough matchups during the first half of the season, we have a predicted record of 5-1 going into the second half of the 2011 campaign, with the sole loss coming on the road against the Utah Utes.
10/15/11 @ Oregon
Oregon, if I remember correctly, had a fairly decent football team in 2010. The Ducks still have an explosive offense, led by running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas. While Auburn was able to show the world how to defeat the Ducks (blowing up the play in the backfield with a disruptive blitz), it's still going to be extremely tough to beat Oregon in Autzen Stadium. ASU played them tough in 2010, but Oregon has had the Sun Devils' number for years now. Expect that trend to continue. 35-24 Loss.
10/29/11 vs. Colorado
After a disappointing two game losing streak, the Devils come home to play a very winnable game against the Colorado Buffaloes. CU is coming to the Pac-12 with a brand new coach and a difficult schedule. The home crowd will bring the Devils back into the win column, as the Buffaloes will not be able to keep up with ASU. 37-17 Win.
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11/5/11 @ UCLA
It's always hard to beat the Bruins in the Rose Bowl, but if we take a look at what ASU did to UCLA last season, the Sun Devils have a decided advantage over the baby blues. A good performance in Pasadena is important for Dennis Erickson, as its likely California recruits will be on hand to see how the team handles this road game. Expect Brock Osweiler and company to win, but not by 21. 42-31 Win.
11/12/11 @ Washington State
The second leg of this road swing ends in Pullman, a place that has historically been one of the biggest homefield advantages in the nation. Wazzu is in the middle of nowhere, making the trip arduous and exhausting. Unfortunately for the Cougars, they don't have a very good team still, and ASU shut them out 42-0 in Tempe back in 2010. While a shutout is unlikely, a win is very likely. 48-17 Win.
11/19/11 vs. Arizona
In this scenario, the Sun Devils are 8-2 going into the final stretch of the season. They have two tough tasks to finish out the year -- home games against Arizona and California. The Wildcats still have Nick Foles and rivalry games between ASU and UA are always fiercely fought and difficult to win. The last two games between these schools have been decided by a total of four points. Four.
ASU needs to win this game, as losing at home against UA means this entire season is a loss. The Sun Devils will answer the bell, however. 35-32 Win.
11/25/11 vs. California
This game has been moved to the 25th, the day after Thanksgiving. After ASU played USC on Thanksgiving night in 2007 (to disastrous result) it's good to see the game is not on that food-filled holiday.
The Golden Bears aren't expected to be worldbeaters this season; with a new quarterback and Memorial Stadium closed for renovations, Cal is going to have a season of transition. By the end of the year, all of that will not matter, but the Sun Devils will have the Pac-12 Championship Game in their sights if they are 9-2. They won't slip up against Cal with so much on the line. 28-17 Win.
12/3/11 Pac-12 Championship Game
Will the Devils be playing here? With two conference losses (the one against Utah is particularly painful), they have to hope that Utah has three conference losses going into the bowl season. You have to expect Utah to lose at least once or twice in the Pac-12, but three times? I'm not sure. At this point, I'd have to say that Utah will play Stanford or Oregon in the title game, with ASU "settling" for a high-level bowl game.
What do you think? Am I crazy? Go Devils.