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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 7, 2008 at 4:44 PM

The pick — Sun Devils

So the biggest question tomorrow could be who shows up in greater numbers — the Huskies, or their fans?
Word is, about 57,000 tickets have been sold, making this potentially one of the smallest crowds in years. The previous low of the Tyrone Willingham era is 52,256 for the 2006 opener against San Jose State.
As for the Huskies themselves, it’s hard to know what to think coming off of last week’s loss, with the reality of Willingham’s situation having that much more time to settle in. Maybe being a week removed from that, and playing a less-stout team, will lead to a better effort. Or maybe everyone’s just counting down the days. Actually, I always think grand proclamations are scary when you are talking about a team with 100 guys. Some will act one way, some another. Some surely care as much now as they ever did. Others surely don’t. Ultimately, all we have to really go by is the score, which last week gave a lot of evidence of a team quitting.
But it could have just been that the Huskies as currently constructed are really about 56 points worse than USC right now.
If so, that doesn’t harbor well for today. ASU isn’t a real good team, but the Sun Devils are probably better than their record. Consider that ASU’s offensive and defensive yards per play averages are almost identical: 5.0 on offense, 5.3 on defense. UW’s are more indicative of a bad team: 4.3 on offense, 7.1 on defense.
And ASU is pretty good at something — throwing the ball — that plays to a UW weakness — defending the pass. Weather could obviously play a factor in that, though right now, looks like it may be OK for tomorrow.
In my position breakdowns, I gave ASU the edge everywhere but on the offensive line. UW’s has been a real disappointment this year, but despite the big loss last week, O-line coach Mike Denbrock thought there were some bright spots, particularly the play of C Juan Garcia, who he said appears to be finally getting close to his form of a year ago.
ASU’s meanwhile, has been a real disappointment as well, and coach Dennis Erickson is shaking things up on the line again this week.
So I gave a tepid check mark to the Huskies, thinking that if UW keeps this one close — or even pulls it off — it will be due to the line. ASU has proven susceptible to giving up big chunks of rushing yards at times, and the Sun Devils also aren’t that great at rushing the passer, with just 11 sacks for the season, and only six in the last six games.
So maybe Garcia can lead an uprising up front to keep UW in this one for a while.
But ultimately, I just think ASU has too many weapons with Rudy Carpenter, a couple of good receivers, and a defense that is probably a little better than its numbers.
Call it ASU 35, UW 17.



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