Arizona Wildcats vs. Arizona State Sun Devils
Date and Time: Saturday, November 25, 2017, 4:30 p.m. ET
Location: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Opening College Football Odds: Pick 'Em
Arizona vs. Arizona State TV Coverage: Pac-12 Network
Arizona State picked up its sixth win of the season against Oregon State last weekend. That removed the stench from a bad 44-37 loss at UCLA and a 48-17 loss to USC prior.
Though the Sun Devils were never truly Pac-12 South contenders, they did a nice job in the division and will ultimately be thrilled with upsets over Oregon ( +14.5 ), Washington ( +17.5 ) and Utah ( +10 ).
The weapons that this team has assembled feel like they've generally underachieved this year, though. Manny Wilkins has been in this offense long enough that he probably should have thrown for more than 2,755 yards and 14 touchdowns at this point in the season. Demario Richard probably had visions of a 1,000-yard campaign instead of one in which he has had just 812, and Jalen Harvey probably saw himself catching more than 32 passes this season.
The one man who really has stepped up his game is N'Keal Harry. Harry has 957 yards and five scores this year, and he's got 69 receptions. However, the Sun Devils haven't gotten the ball in Harry's hands more than six times in any of his last four games. This super sophomore needs to be targeted much more for this offense to thrive.
Arizona's season turned around when Khalil Tate took over the offense. Tate could have arguably been a Heisman Trophy candidate this year if he had played the whole season, and he'll be one of the favorites for the 2018 Heisman when all of the best NCAA football sportsbooks release their lines for next season.
Tate isn't a great passer, but he doesn't have to be in Rich Rod's system. Running the ball as efficiently as possible and sneaking in a couple good throws every now and again is more than good enough, and that's why Arizona's offense is probably a lot better than 500.0 yards and 42.9 points per game would suggest.
511 – The number of yards Arizona ran for last year when these two teams clashed in Tucson.
It was a stunning result for a game that featured a really close spread, as the Cats were all over the Sun Devils from the get go in a 56-35 victory. Brandon Dawkins was unstoppable in his last regular season game, but the Wildcats also put two other running backs over 100 yards to boot.
Part of what Tate excels at is opening up the rest of this offense for his playmakers. Even if Tate doesn't rush for 200 yards, he can really create problems with his threat alone. If J.J. Taylor and Nick Wilson can post big games on the ground as the two U of A backs did last year, this game could be another runaway.
Arizona vs. Arizona State Free Picks
The Arizona State defense feels better-equipped to handle Tate and the Arizona offense this time around. These run-pass-option teams haven't had nearly as much success this year against the ASU defense as we saw last year when this team had one of the worst defenses in the nation.
Tate hasn't really been tested as a passer all that much, and if Arizona State can force him into that, this could be a much different game than bettors expect.
College Football ATS Pick: Arizona State PK at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Arizona State 30, Arizona 20