Friday, October 14, 2011

He Said. He Said.: ASU vs Oregon

He Said. He Said returns this week to take a peek at the battle in the PAC 12.

(18) Arizona State (5-1, 3-0) @ (9) Oregon (4-1, 2-0)

He Said: Oregon
First off your humble correspondent has to apologize for last week’s misguided defense of Texas, in what turned out to be the Red River Rout. Having lived in Texas, apparently my mind was subconsciously impaired by the latent memories of Mambo Taxis at Mi Cocina in Dallas and the various shenanigans that were had on different trips down to Austin.
That said, fortunately I’ve never been to Oregon and was only to Arizona once when I was young so fear not, faithful readers – this week I’ve gotten back to the same bread and butter analysis that has me sitting at 3-0 this year in my SEC GOTW selections (cheap plug – if you’re looking for more free money feel free to click over to the weekly SEC Guy preview – it’s informative and accurate….as expected and as always). Now, back to why Oregon will cover the 16 point spread against the Sun Devils.

Since their opening game loss to LSU, the Fighting Phil Knight’s (FPK’s) have outscored opponents 224 – 73. Additionally, for the season (including the opening game against LSU) they are averaging 539.6 yards per game – or a tad more than the foulness that Andy Dufresne had to crawl through to escape Shawshank Prison. And honestly, who wants to bet against Andy and Red getting their business off the ground in Mexico?

Actually, come to think of it, one person will and he goes by the moniker Productive Sweatpants. He’ll probably throw out some stats like ASU is only giving up 19 points per game or that they throw for almost 292 yards per game. Or, he may even try to convince you that without LaMichael James the FPK’s won’t have the same running attack. And to that, I answer that this season Derron Thomas has only 2 interceptions (versus 15 touchdowns) so not only can they throw it around a little bit, but if you’ve watched the Ducks this year you know that freshman De’Anthony Thomas is the next explosive back ready to be introduced to the world. And I haven’t even mentioned Kenjon Barner or OU’s 19 game home winning streak.

In grasping for any straw he can find to defend why he thinks ASU will cover, Mr. Sweatpants will probably point out that Sun Devil QB Brock Osweiler has been on a roll this season. What he’ll fail to mention (since it would take actual research) is that the last time Osweiler played in Autzen he threw for 14 yards…not on the opening drive or the first quarter…nope, for the game, prior to leaving with an injury.

Adding it all up are you more comfortable taking the Ducks at home in a night game at raucous Autzen Stadium where they are winners of 19 straight, as well as the fact that they are averaging almost 540 yards of offense per game, 50 ppg on the season, and 43 ppg in their six game winning streak over the Sun Devils? Or, would you rather take your chances with a team whose quarterback, the last time he played in Autzen Stadium threw for 14 yards, or roughly 3% of the foulness Andy Dufresne had to crawl through to win his freedom?

Do yourself a favor, choose the Fighting Phil Knight’s, choose Andy Dufresne, choose freedom and choose the Ducks to roll 45-21.

He Said: Arizona State
First and foremost, nice work with that Texas pick there big guy. Maybe sticking with the predictable SEC is more your speed. I do have to apologize to all my adoring fans after I totally botched the score in last week's bludgeoning. Who knew Texas would totally shit the bed?

This week, we'll make it easy for humble pie up there and give him the favorite. 

So how does a fifteen point dog go on the road in one of the most hostile stadiums and win? Well I'm going to tell you how. 

First, Southern Bell Guy, is probably going to try and say that it's no big deal that LaMichael James is sidelined. But, you don't just move on from a guy who consisted of 37% of your total and over half of your rushing offense. Couple that with the fact that ASU is only giving up just over 100 yds per game rushing a couple of backup RBs aren't going to cut it. Derron is going to have to step it up a bit. Which is just fine because ASU has only given up 6 passing TDs and have10 INTs this season. It's not like the 62 ranked passing attack is striking fear in the hearts of opposing defenses. Sure the Ducks are putting up 50.2 a game, but when they faced a team with a pulse (LSU) they only put up 27. 

And speaking of that game. The Ducks D gave up 40 to the 84th ranked total offense. Now, when the 24th ranked passing attack goes up against a passing defense that ranks in the bottom half of college football, things can get interesting. Osweiler is two years older and much more seasoned than the last time he made an appearance in Autzen stadium. I think the JR QB is going to make a statement in this game and show the Duck faithful what a QB should look like. 

A year ago, Oregon escaped Sun Devil stadium with an 11 point win. There are two differences between this year and last. First is that last year the Duck defense was much better. They could get stops when they needed. The second is turnover margin. Last season the Ducks were a plus 1 and the Devils were a -.5. This season the tide is turned a bit with the Ducks registering a -.2 and the Devils are a plus 1.33. In that game last year the Devils were a -5. Don't look for that happening again. 

Mr. Slack-Jawed Southeast is going to make some claims about ASU maybe covering. Friends, I'm here to tell you that not only will the Sun Devils cover, they're going to win. ASU 45 - 42.

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