The tailgates have started and the countdown is on.
It's the Big Ten, it's the Pac-12, and it's time to release our staff predictions for the Arizona State-Wisconsin game.
Mauricio Casillas: Arizona State 35, Wisconsin 30
There's a lot to be said about this week's match up. None of us really know how good this Arizona State team can be, but a win over Wisconsin would be huge. Last year, the Sun Devils disappointed against good teams but absolutely destroyed subpar teams. If the Sun Devils hope to get a Rose Bowl berth, they will have to prove what they're made of in these types of games. With that being said, I think Arizona State's offense will exploit defenses mismatches throughout the game.
There are just too many play makers on the offense to contain. On the other hand, Wisconsin will run the ball well, run the ball hard, and then run the ball some more. I don't expect Arizona State to be able to effectively stop the run, but if they can neutralize Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave, they should be able to win this game. Ultimately, I think the Sun Devils are just too explosive on offense, and that's why they win this game.
Bold Prediction: Marion Grice scores three touchdowns by halftime.
Ben Haber: Arizona State 34. Wisconsin 24
The Arizona State matchup against Wisconsin can easily go either way. I'm very anxious to see the Sun Devils' speed against the Badgers' strength, representing a classic Pac-12-Big 10 showdown. Taylor Kelly should thrive against the inexperienced Wisconsin secondary comprised of a few question marks and a proven safety in Dezmen Southward. Mike Norvell's weapons on the outside, like Jaelen Strong, Chris Coyle, Richard Smith and more will draw consistent mismatches.
On the defensive side of the ball, James White will test Arizona State's run defense early and often. I expect White and Melvin Gordon to cause some problems, yet Will Sutton, Gannon Conway, Jaxon Hood and company are going to limit their attack and force quarterback Joel Stave to beat them, which I doubt he can do. Wisconsin can't afford to fall behind early because it would practically take away their biggest strength: ground and pound football. When the clock strikes double zeroes, I have Arizona State defeating Wisconsin 34-24.
Bold prediction: No Wisconsin running back surpasses 100 yards on the ground.
Ryan Bafaloukos: Arizona State 38, Wisconsin 31
College football experts break down games from every little angle and matchup. At the end of the day, football comes down to execution. Which team makes that one mistake that costs them the game? Who misses a block that leads to a sack? Who makes a mistake that costs his team a touchdown? I bring this up because Arizona State under Todd Graham simply does not make those mistakes. The Sun Devils had one penalty against Sacramento State. They do not cost themselves points.
I think this game will end up being a shootout. I think the Arizona State offense will have success against the Wisconsin defense. I believe the Sun Devils have the more balanced offense and in the end I do believe the home field advantage will play a factor in this game. The only thing that worries me is how Arizona State typically plays in close games. However, in the end I think the Sun Devils pull out a close game against the Badgers.
Bold Prediction: The Sun Devils rush for more yards than the Badgers.
Kerry Crowley: Arizona State 34, Wisconsin 28
It's been a thrill to see the hype and buildup surrounding this week's matchup. Both of these teams have passionate fan bases that feel like their school is flying under the radar. The Badgers think they're better than No. 20, and the Sun Devils feel disrespected sitting on the outside of the national rankings and looking in. Quite frankly, each of these teams is probably deserving of more national recognition.
When these squads square off on Saturday, credibility is on the line. Can Wisconsin's ground game survive against an athletic defensive line that thrives on speed? Can Arizona State move the ball against an experienced front seven?
Honestly, it's hard for me to take the Sun Devils in game of this caliber. Arizona State has struggled against great competition, but I think it's finally time for Todd Graham to start the next chapter of his rebuilding phase. Graham has prepared his team for Wisconsin's physicality, but more importantly, he has given his team a mental edge. I'm calling for Arizona State to ride a strong fourth quarter and induce two late turnovers to preserve a 34-28 victory.
Bold Prediction: Each team scores four touchdowns, but the Sun Devils win on the strength of two Zane Gonzalez field goals.
Cody Ulm: Arizona State 41, Wisconsin 35
The more I study up on Wisconsin, the more afraid I am of this Badgers team. As Kerry touched on, they probably deserve to be higher than No. 20. With that said, I still have the Sun Devils pulling this one out thanks to the home field advantage. It's truly a toss-up in every sense of the word but I think the Devils are going to jump out to an early lead and force Joel Stave to lead his team back. It's going to come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes on offense. I highly doubt that's going to be Taylor Kelly and the Devils.
Wisconsin should have some surprises up its sleeve defensively but it won't be able to contain ASU when the Sun Devils spread it out. I have confidence that Todd Graham will have his team fully prepared to execute at a fast pace. The combination of tempo and temperature is going to get to the Badgers as the game wears on.
Bold Prediction: The Sun Devils will not trail in the game.
Can't wait to call us all out for being homers and picking the Sun Devils? Head on down to the comments section and share your thoughts about the game!