Arizona teams seem to have a reoccurring problem with being criminally underrated. Sure, we don't win championships, but still, we usually have winning teams. I don't know why it happens. East-coast bias? A sacrifice to the sports gods gone wrong? Who knows?
Regardless, we find ourselves facing the issue once again. The upcoming football weekend has one underlying theme: underdogs. Not one of the three games -- NCAA and NFL -- features an Arizona team favored to win.
That can't be right. Let's take a look at it with some old-fashioned Arizona bias.
Arizona State +14 @ Wisconsin
+14? Really? Wow, that is bad ...
... Sadly, it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch. In the past two weeks, ASU has beaten up on two FCS schools. You look at the box scores and they look like world-beaters. Watch the games, though, and you can see glimmers of problems yet to come. To be honest, I'm not too sold on that no-huddle offense yet.
Meanwhile, there is a reason Wisconsin is the 11th ranked team in the country. The Badger running game has been killing it over the past two weeks, with Montee Ball and Heisman candidate John Clay balling on fools for a combined 370 yards and six touchdowns between them.
As an ASU student, it pains me to say this, but the Sun Devils don't stand a chance. That spread should probably be a little higher.
Intern Prediction: Wisconsin 35, Arizona State 14
Arizona +1.5 vs. Iowa
Now this should be a good one. Some are saying that Iowa could be the darkhorse for a title run this year. And for good reason: with 14 starters returning to a team that was thiiiis close to going undefeated before a late-season injury to quarterback Ricky Stanzi ruined them, Iowa is ready to play spoiler to the folks over at Ohio State. Still, first they have to get there, and the Hawkeyes have certainly looked up to the task. After posting consecutive 35-7 wins, the black and yellow has looked as good as advertised. Stanzi has yet to throw an interception and starting running back Adam Robinson is averaging an outrageous seven yards per carry.
The Wildcats aren't slouches, though, and you can bet they'll be out looking for revenge after last year's game. This time, the home crowd is on their side, and you can be sure the Tucson faithful will show up in droves to support Mike Stoops and his boys. Returning starter Nick Foles and his partners-in-crime, Nic Grigsby and Greg Nwoko, have been unstoppable, lighting up the scoreboard for 41 and 52 points in consecutive weeks. Meanwhile, a stout Arizona defense has yet to give up a touchdown.
Travel distance, time change, a late game start, a thunderous crowd ... the Hawkeyes are just up against too much. The Wildcats pull off the upset.
Intern Prediction: Arizona 27, Iowa, 24
Cardinals +7 @ Falcons
Ok, I get that the Cardinals seemed shaky in Week 1 and Kurt Warner isn't walking through the door anytime soon ... but +7? One of the biggest underdogs of the week? Against the Falcons?? We're talking about a team whose offense scored exactly zero touchdowns last week.
Let's be honest, Matt Ryan hasn't looked the same since the Cards destroyed his hopes and dreams in the ‘08 playoffs. Against Pittsburgh, Michael Turner averaged an impressive 2.2 yards a carry. This is a team the Cardinals can beat.
Sure, they could have easily lost against St. Louis. But you know what, they didn't. As strange as it is to say, the Cardinals just win games. That's what they do. Not to mention this season's defense looks absolutely monstrous.
The only thing that scares me about the Red Birds is their unpredictability. Even now, you just never know what they are capable of. Still, the last time the Cardinals and the Falcons met, no one gave them a real shot at winning. You know what happened.
With the Cardinals, I have realized it's always better to throw logic out of the window. You have to go with your gut. My gut says they'll find a way to win.
Or at least cover ...
Intern Prediction: Arizona 21, Atlanta 20