Las Vegas, NV, November 08, 2007 --(PR.com
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Kurt Poway released his latest articles on the Arizona State vs. Oregon ducks matchup. You can visit Oddsboard for this article and other college football matchups.
A Pac 10-game in November between two top-10 teams that has conference championship implications, a potential national championship opportunity on the line and a Heisman candidate playing quarterback. No big deal, right? Well, it wouldn't be if reigning heavyweight USC was in the mix, but, alas, the big conference game Saturday that has so much on the line is one between #4 Arizona State and #5 Oregon. Such is the state of college football in 2007.
To add to the shocking status of the two teams, neither the Sun Devils (8-0, 5-0) or Ducks (7-1, 4-1) were even ranked in the Top-25 when the season started. In fact, nobody even expected either of the two teams to compete in their own conference, not with USC, UCLA and Cal dominating headlines. At the start of the season, the Ducks were predicted to finish sixth in the Pac-10, with the upstart Devils slotted just two places higher at fourth. Shows what the experts know.
The Sun Devils have not enjoyed such heady company, fourth in the latest BCS standings and first place in the Pac-10, since they went undefeated and played in the Rose Bowl in 1996.
"We're just a bunch of guys who nobody thought was very good," Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said. "It's kind of scary, starting to read our name in the paper every week now."
The Ducks have made name for themselves as well this year, most recently with a home win over the once-mighty USC, a win that put them at number five in the BCS.
"Now we put a big target on our back. Everyone wants a piece. As a team, we gotta enjoy this team and then get ready to go for Arizona State because they're a great team as well," said Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon, the aforementioned Heisman candidate who has been putting up impressive numbers all year.
Dixon has led his Ducks offense, that has averaged 524 yards and 44 points per game, to national prominence, while throwing16 touchdowns and only three interceptions. But Dixon has not been alone in the Ducks' offensive wizardry, as running back Jonathan Stewart has carried his weight and the ball for 130 yards per game, including 354 yards in his last two games alone.
Stewart will face a tough task, along with the rest of the Ducks' offense, Saturday in Eugene, as they will be facing a stingy ASU defense that is holding opponents to less than 100 yards rushing per game (91.1). The Sun Devils have been brutal on opposing defenses this year, giving up only 16 points per game, best in conference and seventh in the nation. Visit Oddsboard Sports Odds http://www.oddsboard.com/sports-odds.php
But the Devils talent does not begin and end on the offensive end, as they trail only Oregon in scoring in the Pac-10, led by quarterback Rudy Carpenter, who will be fighting a sprained thumb, as well as the Ducks defense. Although he is third in the Pac-10 in passing yards and touchdowns, however, Carpenter and the Devils are still looking for respect, having only beaten one ranked opponent all year. But they've done all they can to this point, winning every game on their schedule. After a come from behind win against Cal last week, Carpenter thinks people may be beginning to see what the Sun Devils can do.
"It's big because people keep doubting us. We never doubted ourselves. Our confidence keeps growing and our swagger keeps getting bigger."
Expect Saturday's game to be a perfect example of the offensive explosives for which the Pac-10 has become known, but expect ASU to try and slow it down a bit in order to keep the Ducks' fans out of it and their speedy offense off the field. Although Arizona State can deliver a big punch and has the strength to manhandle Oregon at times, Oregon's speed will probably be more than ASU can handle. The Cinderella season will hit a slight roadbump for one team on Saturday, and it will probably be the overmatched Arizona State.
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