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ASU vs. Colorado: How do the Sun Devils get back on track?

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The ASU game plan should be simple: don't beat yourself.

Christian Petersen

Arizona State fans dreaded the early season schedule of Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame but now it's over (phew). Although coming out of it 4-1 or 5-0 would have been ideal, nobody should complain about 3-2.

The excuses for ASU need to go out the window. With UCLA playing at an elite level, the Sun Devils can't afford to lose many more conference match-ups. Colorado comes into Tempe as 26-point underdogs. In other words, pulling off the upset would make their season.

There are very few things, if any, Colorado does better than ASU. Losing isn't an option for Todd Graham, otherwise the preseason goal of winning the Pac-12 South basically ends.

On most weeks, the House of Sparky staff comes up with three keys to the game. Because of the clear advantage ASU posses over Colorado, we narrowed it down to one piece of advice.

The Key: Don't beat yourself

Let's not over-complicate the situation at hand.

To beat Wisconsin, Stanford and more, the formula was difficult. It required some luck, some execution, and some clutch plays. To beat Colorado, the formula shouldn't require be anything complicating. As the saying goes, keep it simple, stupid.

ASU averages 42.6 points per game, Colorado averages 28.0 points per game. ASU allows 30 points per game, Colorado allows 38 points per game. There's one way to interpret those numbers, the Sun Devils should take care of the Buffaloes with relative ease.

In addition, ASU takes care of business at home routinely. Since Graham arrived, the Maroon and Gold are 6-2 at home. Besides Wisconsin, the Sun Devils were expected to prevail in the other five contests. The same goes for Colorado, obviously.

Turnovers prevented ASU from defeating Notre Dame. Turnovers helped Wisconsin stay alive, despite ASU having 17 more first downs. The point being, the sole way Colorado hangs around is via turnovers.

Graham continues to always stress ball security. It sounds like typical coach speak and sounds repetitive, but it's the truth.

Colorado has improved from last season, so if you place opportunities on a silver platter, they might finally cash in. Coach Mike MacIntyre has the Buffaloes playing with a renewed sense of energy and pride. Clearly there's lots of work still to be accomplished, yet Colorado can pull off the surprise if ASU decides to shoot themselves in the foot.

Go position by position, and the Sun Devils win out at least 75 percent of the matchup scenarios. Even the Boulders best player, wide receiver Paul Richardson, may not trump Jaelen Strong.

It's hard to imagine Colorado hanging tough with ASU. However, it's easy to imagine Colorado hanging tough with ASU if Kelly and the offense cough up the football.