Kerry Crowley; Arizona State 45, Oregon State 31
I'm far more confident in Arizona State's ability to beat Oregon State than I was in the Sun Devils' chances against Utah. Most people will point to the obvious and say, "Well...duh ASU is at home now," but that's only a small part of my rationale. I simply believe that Arizona State matches up much better against Oregon State. Utah has a pesky defensive line that sacked Taylor Kelly six times, and that seems to be the protocol for stopping the Sun Devils. If the defensive line is successful, then generally, the entire team is successful.
This week, the Sun Devils have the advantage up front on both sides of the ball and I think that will carry them to a victory. I wouldn't be surprised to see a five or six-sack outing from Arizona State's defense and for the Sun Devils to keep Taylor Kelly's jersey clean all night long on offense. Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn are talented at defensive end for the Beavers, but I don't see Evan Finkenberg or Tyler Sulka having an issue in pass protection this week. Mike Norvell knows where he has an advantage, and I expect him to game plan around that and help engineer a win over the Beavers.
Bold Prediction: Marion Grice scores three touchdowns.
Nick Krueger: Arizona State 31, Oregon State 28
I'm the complete opposite of Kerry in that I'm more worried about Oregon State at home than I was Utah on the road. Todd Graham must be seeing something amazing in the film room because all he's done this week is praise the Beavers. Brandin Cooks and Sean Mannion form the most potent quarterback and wide receiver combo that ASU has faced so far this season (yes more than Whittek and Lee at USC and Hogan and Montgomery at Stanford). A home game is no saving grace for Arizona State, yes they haven't lost at home in over a year but you can't say the Sun Devils have a home field advantage as the crowds aren't very raucous. It's been a couple of weeks since Marion Grice has scored and if Arizona State has to resort to a passing attack it could be in trouble since the Beavers' secondary has 15 interceptions so far this season.
Sure Oregon State lost to Eastern Washington, Stanford, and a USC team that Arizona State beat by 20 points but this could be a "fluke" game for OSU who is still looking for a win to hang their hats on as the Sun Devils have their eyes on a Pac-12 South title. This is a program defining game in my book. Arizona State has arrived at the "pitchfork" in the road if you will. Will they decide to step up and finally live up to expectations and have a chance to seal the title against UCLA? Or will another Arizona State team fall back into the slumber of a "sleeping giant" as the title hopes slip away? I think the Sun Devils finally decide to get it done but it won't come easily. Arizona State will once again just find a way to win.
Bold prediction: Jaelen Strong returns to form with at least 10 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown.
Ben Haber: Arizona State 52, Oregon State 24
Slow down there Nick. The program defining game for Arizona State will be at UCLA next week. For now, it's all about ASU-Oregon State. The Sun Devils should and will beat the Beavers by at least two touchdowns. The combination of home field advantage and the clear talent advantage ASU possesses makes it difficult to imagine Oregon State prevailing. The comfortable surroundings within Frank Kush Field help enable Taylor Kelly to play significantly better. There aren't too many college football teams I'd pick over ASU at home, and Oregon State isn't one of them. The Beavers are 1-17 in their previous 18 trips to Tempe.
The key to the game will be the ASU secondary against the Oregon State passing game, led by quarterback Sean Mannion and wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Both players are special and elite at their respective positions. Osahon Irabor can handle most targets one-on-one, but he shouldn't be asked to do so versus Cooks. I think Paul Randolph should bracket and double team Cooks every snap, forcing other Beavers to step up. Mannion doesn't go through his progression well. So even though more bodies will be on Cooks, Mannion will still go that way, creating turnovers. Will Sutton, Carl Bradford and the pass rush may be even more important because the secondary can't slow down Mannion alone. After looking through each box score for Oregon State, Mannion hasn't been nearly as proficient against upper echelon teams.
In addition, Oregon State plays mediocre defense and ASU plays top-notch offense. Kelly, Marion Grice, Jaelen Strong are eager to bounce back in high-octane fashion. The Sun Devils aren't going to let the Beavers be the hiccup in their season.
Bold Prediction: Sean Mannion doesn't throw for 300 yards
Ryan Bafaloukos: Arizona State 41, Oregon State 24
I think the Beavers built up an inflated record against inferior competition early in the season. Oregon State's four conference wins have come against teams that have a COMBINED three Pac-12 wins. Sean Mannion has looked very pedestrian in his last two games against Stanford and USC, throwing two touchdowns to three interceptions. Brandin Cooks, who leads the nation in receiving, has just 168 yards in his last two games, both OSU losses.
Long story short, I believe that Oregon State is overrated and I don't see Arizona State having much trouble at home against the Beavers. I could see this game going a lot like the USC game went, with Arizona State blowing out OSU most of the evening and the Beavers making the score closer at the end of the game.
Bold Prediction: Robert Nelson returns a punt for a touchdown.