Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Date and Time: Saturday, September 16, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
Opening College Football Odds: Texas Tech -6
Arizona State vs. Texas Tech TV Coverage: FOX Sports 1
We should have known that the Sun Devils were going to struggle mightily against San Diego State after watching them really screw around with New Mexico State the week prior. Maybe the Aggies turn out to be a decent team this year, but the fact that that was still a game in the fourth quarter after ASU took a 37-13 lead is a real indictment of sorts.
Thus when the Sun Devils opened at -3 versus the Aztecs, you just knew that something was screwy. San Diego State never trailed, and once it took the lead midway through the first quarter, it only reverted back into a tie for a total of 15 seconds, the amount of time it took Rashaad Penny to take a kickoff back 99 yards for a touchdown.
This is a big year for Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech. He's had a few years to try to get this program back towards the top of the Big XII, and with Pat Mahomes now honing his skills with the Chiefs in the NFL, it's time to rebuild with a new quarterback.
Said new quarterback, Nic Shimonek looked good in his first game of the year against Eastern Washington. In his first career start in his senior year, Shimonek went 26-of-30 for 384 yards and three touchdowns against one of the better teams FCS has to offer. The 56-10 victory couldn't have been more emphatic, and it's one of those rare games against a club from the de facto second division that might end up really looking good at the end of the day.
But Texas Tech isn't without its flaws. Eastern Washington shot itself in the foot time and time again in that game, and these good FBS teams aren't going to get into trouble like that. The Eagles still had a nice, efficient day throwing the football, and that might lend itself to Manny Wilkins have a good day under center for ASU.
6 – The number of touchdowns the Sun Devils have allowed this year that have encompassed at least 23 yards.
It's amazing how many big plays ASU allows. Penny is one of the better backs in mid-major college football, but he was loose in all three facets of the game last Saturday night. Penny ran the ball 18 times for 216 yards and a 95-yard touchdown, he had four receptions for 38 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown and returned a kick 99 yards for a score. You flat out can't allow those types of big plays and win in college football, and the Sun Devils now have allowed three touchdowns in each of their first two games that have been scored from outside of the red zone.
Arizona State vs. Texas Tech Free Picks
Defense optional. Neither one of these teams should be able to slow down the other in this one, and that could create another real shootout in Lubbock.
Shimonek looked the part in his first career start, but we hate seniors who effectively haven't played in their entire career. Sure, Shimonek probably gives the Red Raiders the best chance to win right now, but let's see what he does in a big game against a Power Five club first we anoint him the second coming of Mahomes.
We'll take the points with Arizona State with a minimum amount of confidence. The top online sportsbooks will probably have very even action on this one throughout the week.
College Football ATS Pick: Play Arizona State at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Arizona State 46, Texas Tech 41