For those who went to sportsbooks and made a futures bet on Arizona State because you heard ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit predict ASU could land in the four-team playoff, we feel for you.
The Sun Devils were universally chosen to finish third in the preseason magazines in the Pac-12 and while we agreed with the respected Herbstreit (and we do respect him) in making ASU a possible long shot here in an article I wrote about the Power 5 conferences, they showed little against Texas A&M in the loss.
Arizona State will begin the process of regrouping and immediately in their path is Cal-Poly, who is a FCS school out of the Big Sky Conference. Football handicappers and those placing college football picks do not have a lot of time to study the betting odds as all sportsbooks including WagerWeb have late releases to reduce exposure on these games.
There is always an air of uncertainty about these matchups, with the FBS schools generally good-sized favorites and they were 26-19 ATS in the opening week against the College Football Odds versus FCS foes.
Here is a rundown on both teams for evening affair in the desert.
When Arizona State Has the Ball
In the Sun Devils 38-17 setback to Texas A&M, their offensive line was out-classed, giving quarterback Mike Bercovici no time to run or pass and except for one drive. The usually fast-paced Arizona State offense did run 82 plays, but in watching, you would have sworn it was about 60.
Bercovici only averaged 4.9 yards per pass attempt and the running game, including his scrambles away from pressure and netted a measly 2.2 yards per carry.
Against a far lesser opponent, coach Todd Graham's team will have a much better chance to crank up the offense, but they will have to do a better job holding on to the pigskin, after fumbling five times, losing it twice.
When Cal-Poly has the Ball
Cal-Poly was picked to finish sixth in the Big Sky and runs a triple-option attack, led by quarterback Chad Brown. The Mustangs have led the nation in rushing the last two years and in 2014, had just seven turnovers.
Cal-Poly has enjoyed five straight winning seasons, but are not great like all option teams when they trail by 17 or more points, because they lack an adequate passing game. Brown was 5 for 14 in the opening game last second win at Montana 20-19.
What the Sun Devils Have to do on Defense
In spite of how the offense was playing, the Arizona State defense was keeping their team in the game by generating miscues and trailed only 17-14 in the fourth quarter. However, Graham's defense tired and started giving up big plays and the Aggies scored 21 points in the final stanza.
With nine starters back, the Sun Devils defense cannot allow those type of physical and mental lapses and against Cal-Poly's offense, a lack of discipline and not sticking to assignment football will get them in trouble. The defense line has to create penetration and be disruptive and the linebackers have to stay in lanes and make tackles.
What the Mustangs have to do on Defense
Cal-Poly was burned for 353 yards passing at Montana, but collected three interceptions to keep them in the game. This unit has to prevent the big play against Arizona State. Also, they must do their best to force three and outs because playing in the heat in Tempe, even at night, can be draining and they will lack the depth if ASU can possess the ball.
Oddsmakers Numbers and Outcome
The college football odds have Arizona State at -37. This looks accurate and if the Sun Devils just blow this game off mentally, remember, in 2008, Cal-Poly was Wisconsin's final game of the season and had a makeable field goal, but missed it and lost at Madison 36-35.
While we think the Mustangs can hang around for awhile, we find ASU is 4-0 ATS in the regular season off a SU loss the past two years and win and cover this clash with explosive plays.
College Football Pick - Arizona State -37