The House of Sparky staff gives their predictions for today's important Pac-12 showdown.
Kickoff is just a few hours away, Sun Devil Nation!
As such, we give you our final game predictions for this crucial Pac-12 battle between Arizona State and USC.
We sure hope we're wrong. We really do.
Brad Denny: USC wins 45-31
Winning this game will be a daunting challenge for ASU, but it's within their grasp. The front seven will need to have a great night in the pass rush, beating up Matt Barkley and disrupting him before he can get it out to Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, for whom the ASU secondary (nor any secondary, really) can not contain on their own. The Sun Devils will also need the benefit of a few Trojan turnovers. A lot of things need to fall ASU's way, perhaps too many to get a win, but it's closer than many people think. Game MVP: Marqise Lee
Cory Williams: USC wins 47-31
The Sun Devils are in an unfortunate spiral, but USC has followed a similar trajectory with two consecutive losses. The Trojans are a polished offensive juggernaut, and the combination of Robert Woods and Marqise Lee will give the ASU defense fits all night. It really comes down to two factors: Will Sutton's ability to disrupt Matt Barkley's rhythm and Taylor Kelly's ability to consistently move the ball down the field. Quick possessions are great when you put a touchdown on the board, but a punt after three short plays does your defense no favors. Time of possession will be an important indicator of success on this front. In the end, ASU doesn't have enough defense to stop USC. They will score, but not enough.
Ben Haber: USC wins 52-31
Let's get real colleagues, ASU doesn't have any realistic chance against USC. Although, the game should be hard fought as both teams are in must win situations, no debate about it. The Sun Devils have not won in the Colliseum since 1999! Two desperate teams, yet Southern California's squad clearly posses superior talent. Matt Barkley is the best quarterback in college football, and will likely toss the pig skin around for at least 400 plus yards. Oregon State's Markus Wheaton had numerous big plays against ASU's overrated secondary, now meet Robert Woods and Marquis Lee who are easily the best wide receiving duo in the nation. Thankfully, the USC defense looks awful, giving up points practically every possession. However, even if ASU can score often, Taylor Kelly can not keep up with USC's potent arsenal score for score. Sun Devil defensive coordinator Paul Randolph's sole hope will be connecting on blitzes attempts, and preying for another beastly Will Sutton performance. At 6-3 overall, the world is seemingly over in USC land, due to extreme pre-season National Championship hype. Conversely, ASU fans should be happy at 5-4 during a rebuilding season. Game MVP: Matt Barkley
Nick Marek: USC wins 42-24
I have to be honest with everybody. ASU does not stand a chance this weekend. If they would have competed with the Beavers in the second half last weekend, I would be more optimistic about this weekend's test against #24 USC. Will the Sun Devils compete with Southern California? For a little while, sure. Will the score be close? I doubt it. ASU travels to the Coliseum to play in one of the toughest stadiums in college football and against one of the most dangerous passing offenses in the Pac-12. USC quarterback Matt Barkely already has thrown for 2,700 yards and 30 touchdowns. Twenty two of those went to wide receivers Marquise Lee and Robert Woods. ASU's secondary is not strong enough to cover the Trojans' explosive receivers so the Sun Devils need to get to Barkley quick and often to give Taylor Kelly as much time on the field as possible. Marion Grice, Cameron Marshall and D.J. Foster should be exciting to watch as always against another top 25 opponent this season, but the defense needs to help them out to pick up a W. After giving up 124 points in the last three games, I do not see the defense bouncing back in a road game like this. This game should be at least a two possession game at the half because USC is hungry to regain the lead in the Pac-12 South. USC wins 42-24 and ASU prays to become bowl eligible against Washington State before they play rival Arizona to close the season. Game MVP: Matt Barkley
Cody Ulm: USC wins 48-31
If I saw anything resembling an inspired, complete team effort last week against OSU, I probably would have picked the upset here. Instead, fans were treated to the team's worst performance of the season as the Devils blew their third straight early lead. Arizona State's defense is built to hang with the Trojans but their offense doesn't have the capability of keeping Matt Barkley and his plethora of weapons off the field for extended periods of time. If ASU's offense stumbles or coughs up the ball, I have no doubt that the USC's high-flying attack will use that as an opportunity to step on their throats. The big plays have vanished from the Devils' playbook and I have a gut feeling that the talented Trojans defense is set to prove they're better than they've shown lately. For those reasons, this is a game in which Arizona State would have to play flawlessly in and I've seen nothing the past three weeks that suggests that they're capable of that. Game MVP: QB Matt Barkley
Ryan Bafaloukos: USC wins 48-24
I, like most of our excellent staffers here at House of Spark, do not see this one going well for the Sun Devils. If ASU had a hard time against Cody Vaz and the Oregon State receivers, how are they going to contain Matt Barkley and his weapons? ASU is outmatched when they are on defense, as USC has too many weapons to stop. USC's defense isn't too bad either, led by Dion Bailey and T.J. McDonald. Taylor Kelly has to be perfect in this game, and the Sun Devils need to be balanced on offense. I do believe that ASU can score on the Trojans, however they will not be able to score enough. Game MVP: Matt Barkley
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