New Mexico State Aggies vs. Arizona State Sun Devils
Date and Time: Thursday, August 31, 2017, 10:30 p.m. ET
Location: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Opening College Football Odds: Arizona State -25, O/U 67
New Mexico State vs. Arizona State TV Coverage: Pac-12 Network
The Aggies are once again surely heading for another frustrating season this year. They’re set to leave the Sun Belt after this season and are very likely going to be one of the worst teams in college football once again.
The biggest problem NMSU has is its defense. The club has a slew of JUCO transfers who are all coming in to try to resurrect a unit that allowed 38.8 points per game a campaign ago. Generally speaking, this doesn't end well, particularly for these lower mid-majors.
Tyler Rogers was given a medical waiver for a fifth year of eligibility for New Mexico State, though it's unclear just how effective he's really going to be. He's a dual-threat, but he isn’t a great passer, including throwing 12 interceptions last season.
Arizona State only went 5-7 last season and missed out on a bowl game. One would like to think that Todd Graham has to get the Sun Devils back in a December game if he wants to keep his job. This game is obviously a must.
The Sun Devils are only going to be as good as their running game this year. Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage have each proven to be viable commodities in the backfield, and both are capable both as rushers and receivers. With a new offensive scheme being put into play this year to make ASU a more pro-style attack, the balance with the ground game is going to be crucial.
0 – The number of teams in the nation which had a worse pass defense than Arizona State last season.
Granted, the Pac-12 doesn't help that issue any, as this is a pass-happy conference. Yet no matter who Arizona State ran up against, it had all sorts of problems keeping the ball from moving in huge chunks through the air.
Marcus Ball is the only man who is back in this secondary from last year, and the Sun Devils didn't end up with a great recruiting class to help out. Needless to say, if New Mexico State is going to figure out how to stay in this game, it's going to have to come from its passing attack to exploit Arizona State's biggest weakness.
New Mexico State vs. Arizona State Free Picks
We flat out can't lay more than three touchdowns with the Sun Devils. We don't believe in Manny Wilkens as a starting quarterback, and the transition on offense for the third time in four seasons isn't a good look either. The defensive problems? That's just the icing on the cake.
Again, New Mexico State doesn't have a great history in games like this, so we wouldn't be willing to wager the farm. But shop around at your favorite online sportsbooks and search for a price as close to four touchdowns as you can find, and you'll likely end up on the right side of this game.
College Football ATS Pick: New Mexico State +25 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Arizona State 34, New Mexico State 14