No. 6! The Arizona State Sun Devils, those of the nine new starters on defense, the new running back and the worst special teams play in America just three months ago, are No. 6.
Who saw this coming? If you said ‘I did,' you're lying. Your nose just grew as many inches as the spots the Sun Devils gained after knocking off Notre Dame last week.
But it's on to Oregon State now. The Sun Devils have a pair of trap games coming up before the Territorial Cup showdown with Arizona. If both teams win out, holy cow; that would be a huge game.
Back to Oregon State. Here's the matchup of the week:
The Battle of the Pregame Speech
Quick, someone call ESPN and tell them to make sure, no matter what, that we get to see both team's pregame speeches.
Look, I did as much research as I could. I watched tape for two hours. The bottom line here is the Sun Devils are unequivocally better than Oregon State at every position. The only player the Beavers could see drafted ahead of his Arizona State counterpart is quarterback Sean Mannion.
And no, Mannion is not better than Taylor Kelly; he's just much bigger, with a cannon for an arm.
The situation is pretty simply in this one. The Sun Devils have to win to keep any hope of playing for that national championship alive. They likely also have to win out in order to play in the Pac-12 championship game, too. Todd Graham's only job this week is to make sure that whatever he says ten minutes before the game starts gets his teams attention.
The Sun Devils cannot sleep on the Beavers. Mike Riley is too good of a football coach to let his team roll over and play dead.
To compound that, the Beavers are literally in do or die territory. They have three games left, and if they don't win two of those, the season ends without a bowl game appearance.
Oregon State doesn't want to go into the Washington and Oregon game's needing to win both.
This is their Super Bowl. This is a nationally televised game against a team with as much momentum as any in America right now. A team that has skyrocketed into the national spotlight over the last two weeks and a team everyone has their eye on now.
The Civil War game is always huge. But no other game sticks out on the Beavers schedule like this one.
So who will give the better speech?
My money is on Graham. His ability to talk is the only reason the Sun Devils are this good. This isn't a top ten team on paper, not even close. There are freshman playing everywhere, former walk-ons are playing like blue chips.
I'd expect one hell of a speech out of Graham before this and every game from here on out.
I'm not saying Graham has to get his team pumped up for them to win, but it will help. He needs to eliminate any ounce of thought that Arizona State is just going to steamroll Oregon State. He has to play the Super Bowl card.
The Sun Devils have to understand that this game means everything to the Beavers.
The pregame speech. That's what I want to see.
We'll know right there, before either team takes the field, what the outcome is going to be.