The Arizona State Sun Devils are two wins away from their first Pac-12 South division championship since 2013 -- but their final two games will be difficult road tests, beginning with Saturday night's showdown at the Oregon Ducks.
ASU (6-4 overall, 4-3 Pac-12) has won three straight games and will take on an Oregon team (6-4, 3-4) that has lost three of its last four. But the Ducks are a tough team to beat at home.
Entering Saturday's games, the Devils have multiple paths to a Pac-12 South title -- but the simplest path is to beat Oregon, and then beat archrival Arizona in Tucson the following weekend.
Can the Devils get Part I done Saturday night? Here are a pair of predictions from the ABC15 sports team.
ABC15 sports director Craig Fouhy
Who would have thought? Three weeks ago, the Sun Devils were fighting for a bowl berth, but now, with three straight wins over USC, Utah and UCLA, the Devils control their own destiny and could make it to the Pac-12 Championship game.
But to get there, they’ll have to win at Oregon (unless Utah loses to Colorado), and playing at Autzen Stadium is a tough task. The Devils seem to be keeping their heads together, and if they can play four quarters, avoid a slow start and keep the pedal to the metal, they have a legitimate shot.
Let’s hope offensive coordinator Rob Likens continues to get the ball to his stars: running back Eno Benjamin and wide receiver N’Keal Harry. If he does, the Devils have a shot. ASU 44, Oregon 38
ABC15.com sportswriter Shane Dale
This one is difficult to forecast. Oregon and ASU and similar in a number of statistical categories. They both excel at running the ball, they're both outstanding on third down, and they're both very good at scoring touchdowns when they enter the red zone. Oregon QB Justin Herbert is the projected No. 1 pick in next year's draft, but ASU QB Manny Wilkins is an excellent game manager who makes few crucial mistakes.
I have to give the Ducks the nod in this one for several reasons. First, they'll be at home where they're 5-1 this season; ASU is just 1-3 on the road. Second, Oregon is coming off a frustrating loss at Utah, and the Ducks will be an emotionally fueled team in what will be their Senior Day game. And third, it'll be chilly. The Sun Devils are used to playing in the heat; the game-time temperature in Eugene will be about 40 degrees, and temps will continue to drop throughout the game.
The Devils haven't been blown out this season; all four of their losses have come by seven points. That's why I think Saturday night's game will be close, but the Ducks will come out on top. Oregon 34, ASU 27