Predictions for No. 19 USC at ASU

Posted at 12:31 AM, Sep 27, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-27 03:31:06-04

The Arizona State Sun Devils will host the No. 19 USC Trojans in what will be the conference opener for ASU.

Will the Devils open Pac-12 play 1-0? ABC15 Sports' Tom Zenner and Shane Dale offer their predictions for Saturday's matchup, which begins at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

See also: ESPN's Mike & Mike make their predictions for USC at ASU.

Tom Zenner:

You can't blame Steve Sarkisian if he decides to take no chances, and grabs an Uber ride to Tempe from LA. The last USC head coach who made the trip to the Valley to play ASU got fired when the plane landed in California. 

This is an incredibly important game for the Sun Devils.  A win and they literally cleanse all the residue from their shaky start. They are off and running in the Pac-12 and they can still live up to Todd Graham's claim that this is the best team he's coached here. A loss? Well, we could be looking at a long year that could end in the Las Vegas or Foster Farms Bowl if the Devils were to get lucky. 

It's too early in the season to have to write off the Devils. It's still over 100 degrees out! So for that reason, give me ASU in a close game where they prevail over a shaky Trojans defense and a coach who might be starting a free fall. 

ASU 31, USC 29

Shane Dale:

It was just a few short weeks ago that I picked ASU and USC to finish first and second, respectively, in the Pac-12 South. That scenario is still perfectly plausible, but it seems significantly less likely after both teams turned in disappointing performances early in the season.

The Sun Devils have a three-game winning streak over the Trojans, though last year’s game has to come with a bit of an asterisk, as the Devils were bailed out when a USC defender decided to attempt a fair catch on a Hail Mary pass. As such, the Trojans undoubtedly have this game circled on their schedule, and after an embarrassing home loss to Stanford, they’ll be coming to Tempe a bit teed off.

The good news for the Devils is sophomore tailback Demario Richard has been on fire, and USC was perfectly beatable in the running game last week against Stanford. But these kinds of tossup games often come down to which team has the better quarterback. In that area, Cody Kessler and the Trojans have an unmistakable advantage over fellow senior Mike Bercovici and the Devils.

USC 27, ASU 23