We here in Arizona apparently live a world of uncertainty. Last week's three gridiron games accomplished absolutely nothing except making me realize that everything I may think I know about the Cardinals, Sun Devils, and Wildcats could be wrong. While I may have guessed the outcomes correctly, I couldn't have been farther from reality in terms of how things actually played out.
At this point, nothing that happens this weekend could shock me. I'll take my best (un)educated guess.
Arizona State +3.5 @ Oregon State
Ok, ok, I admit I may have been wrong about the Sun Devils. At this point, after being entirely off base about their chances two weeks in row (and losing
money pride in the process), I give in. ASU is a good team. Stephen Threet is a solid quarterback. Dennis Erickson may know what he's doing.
I'm jumping on the bandwagon.
If there was such a thing as a moral victory, the Sun Devils have experienced it. I've personally never such a positive reaction emanate throughout a community after two losses. It has certainly been an interesting response, to say the least.
At this point, the general sentiment is that ASU is close. They have been right in these games until the end (which, in itself, is a huge improvement). Now they just need to take that next step.
This week is a presents a perfect opportunity to do just that.
Oregon State is a high-quality team. Their two losses have been at the hands of the #3 and #5 teams in the nation. That's nothing to sneeze at. Don't be mistaken, the Beavers can flat out play. Jacquizz Rodgers is the modern version of the "little engine that could". The 5'7", 190 lb. running back is one of the most explosive players in the Pac-10, and is always a threat to take the rock to the house.
That being said, ASU can win this. The players are hungry after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory two weeks in a row. These Sun Devils will look to make a statement.
Intern Prediction: Arizona State 32, Oregon State 20
Another week goes by, and I still have no idea what to think about these damn Cardinals. Sure, 2-1 looks alright, but in an alternate reality where kickers drafted in the first round make gimme field goals, we're having an entirely different discussion right now. It is what it is, though things certainly look like they are getting worse before they get better. The next two games appear quite daunting, as our Red Birds travel to San Diego on Sunday, followed by a matchup against the defending champion New Orleans Saints.
To pile on, the team probably wasn't helped this week when a story leaked out regarding Steve Breaston's arthroscopic knee surgery. The critically acclaimed poet is going to be out until the bye week, leaving an already fragile receiving corps more disheveled than was previously thought possible. It's now solely up to Fitz and the plucky youngsters to carry this team.
I am afraid.
With Larry most likely seeing
double triple quadruple coverage all day long, the opportunity will be there for the taking. One of these tykes has to step up. There really is no other way. Someone has to have a breakout game for the Cardinals to come out on top.
Though, one particular stat did catch my eye. Derek Anderson, the man whose head is being called for throughout the state, is apparently clutch. Like, very clutch. I know, it doesn't make sense. But look at this. Yes, it may be blasphemous, but maybe... just maybe... Derek Anderson wins games? Food for thought until he throws three picks and Max Hall is seen strapping up his helmet.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are sitting pretty with the most bizarre 1-2 record in recent memory. I'm sure if I were to tell the people of San Diego three weeks ago that the Bolts would lose to both Kansas City and Seattle, after outgaining them by a combined 439 yards, the fanbase would spontaneously combust, Spinal Tap-style.
Still, simply put, the Chargers are a better team than the Red Birds. Their defense is firing on all cylinders, and Phillip Rivers is leading the league in passing yards, despite the absence of his #1 receiver. At a certain point, talent wins out.
But then again, you just never know with the Cardinals. Who knows what kind of rabbits they can pull out of their collective hats? I think they can keep it close until the end.
Intern Prediction: Chargers 28, Cardinals 24
Note: The University of Arizona Wildcats have a bye this week.
Last week's record: 3-0
Total record: 5-1