Have no fear, Sun Devil nation; Ryan Bafaloukos predicted Arizona State to come out victorious Saturday which naturally means the team is a virtual lock to top Washington.
Bafaloukos, our very own "Sportstradamus", is the only remaining member of our staff to be 6-0 in his game predictions. In other words, he was the only one who predicted the Notre Dame loss.
So why exactly is he predicting the "W" when the rest of our staff envisions a loss? Read on to find out:
Ryan Bafaloukos: Washington 31, Arizona State 38
I am one of the few people that believe that Arizona State will win this weekend. The Sun Devils are just a different team at home. The offense comes alive and the defense forces opponents into mistakes. The Washington Huskies are the most penalized team in the Pac-12 conference and have a hard time taking care of the football.
I think this is the game where the Arizona State pass rush comes to life and wrecks havoc in the Washington backfield. I expect big things from Taylor Kelly, as the UW defense gave up 366 passing yards last week in a loss to Oregon and the Huskies have trouble with mobile quarterbacks. In each year under Steve Sarkisian, the Huskies have had a three-game losing streak which means once they get to losing, they have a hard time breaking out of it.
Bold Prediction: Arizona State holds Bishop Sankey under 100 yards.
Nick Krueger: Washington 42, Arizona State 28
This Husky team is upset after a loss to Oregon that was mainly the fault of UW turnovers. They will come out against ASU the same way the Devils came out against Colorado last week; really ticked off. The Sun Devils are just nowhere near ready to stop Bishop Sankey. The run defense has been poor all season and Sankey is averaging 5.7 yards a carry. The UW defense is only allowing 19.8 points this season while averaging 35 points a game on offense.
Look for the six-foot-six Austin Seferian-Jenkins to have a very big game against an undersized ASU defensive backfield. Taylor Kelly will put together a few solid drives but the UW defense will stop the Sun Devils more than once and drives will stall without an uptempo pace. This team gave Oregon a game and lost to Stanford by three points, the same Stanford team that to be completely honest absolutely embarrassed the Sun Devils on national television in September. The purple and gold average 526 yards per game on offense including 248 of those on the ground. The last team ASU faced that had similar numbers was Wisconsin when the Sun Devils won on a fluke. Unfortunately for Sun Devil fans, the Washington defense is better than Badgers' and Keith Price will outperform Joel Stave at quarterback.
Bold Prediction: Marion Grice scores every Sun Devil touchdown
Cody Ulm: Washington 48, Arizona State 41
My score skews a little higher than the rest because I think the Huskies and Sun Devils are going to both bring their a-games with the stakes being what they are. And while both teams feature some talented defenders, Washington and Arizona State are offensive-oriented teams at heart. In other words, I'm calling a good old-fashioned Pac-12 shootout.
Ultimately, the difference-maker will be Bishop Sankey and his ability to sustain long drives for the Huskies. Sankey is patient runner who always selects the correct lanes. As the game wears on, I expect him to bust a few off the edge to put Keith Price and the offense in position to succeed. I wish I had the same amount of confidence in Marion Grice coming off his best rushing game of the year but I don't think he'll match Sankey's consistency. This is going to come down to Taylor Kelly slinging it around to match Washington blow-for-blow. I expect Kelly to carry the team for much of this one before a few turnovers get the best of him. Look for the Huskies' underrated secondary to make plays when they need them the most.
Bold prediction: Taylor Kelly throws two interceptions at home for only the second time in his career (first was against Oregon).
Kerry Crowley: Washington 41, Arizona State 33
Let's be honest, there's a reason Vegas favors the Sun Devils this Saturday. Arizona State is just a different team when it plays in Tempe compared to when it plays on the road. The Sun Devils average more than 50 points per game in their home contests and the offense just has a different rhythm about it in the heat. That being said, it's time to evaluate the competition. The Sun Devils have one quality home win (Sorry, USC has talent, but that program was in complete disarray when it descended on Tempe) and three blowouts.
Saturday provides the most difficult test the Sun Devils have faced at home this season. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be surprised if Arizona State pulls off a victory, but I can't find a way to pick the Sun Devils in this game. I didn't think this Husky team was for real until it went into Stanford and gave an outstanding Cardinal team everything it could handle and more. Then, to turn things over and hang tough with Oregon for three full quarters was just as impressive. In the end, I think it's the Washington defense that makes the difference. Justin Wilcox is one of the most underrated coordinators in the country and he'll use this game and this season to help land a head coaching spot next season.
Bold Prediction: The Sun Devils convert a special teams fake.