The Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils wrap up a forgettable season with a rivalry matchup at Arizona Stadium on Friday night. This has been an ugly short season for the Wildcats and Sun Devils. Arizona is winless in four games, while Arizona State is winless in two games. Yep, between Arizona and Arizona State they’ve only played six games this season.
It’s better than nothing I suppose, but this has been nothing more than a feeling out process for next year. Coaching staffs are using this as a time to evaluate talent for a full season in 2021. The Pac-12 has been one jumbled up mess this season, even more so than the other conferences. They started really late, and now they’re trying to throw a conference championship game together.
In any case, Arizona and Arizona State will get the Duel in the Desert in this season despite the pandemic. This is a game that should get both teams excited to play football on Friday night. One team is going to end this season winless, but it most certainly wouldn’t have happened if we had a full season.
That’s especially true for Arizona State who were feeling confident about their chances with Jayden Daniels returning for the Sun Devils. Unfortunately, it’s a wasted season and a year that will pass by without seeing what Daniels could have done under normal circumstances. Daniels will return for Arizona State next season, as he’s only a 19-year-old sophomore. He was terrific in his first season, with 17 touchdowns and 2 interceptions through the air, as well as 355 rushing yards and a touchdown.
While this season was supposed to be a breakout campaign for Daniels, we will have to see what he does in 2021. Despite a record of 0-2, the Sun Devils have more talent than the record indicates. They finished last season with a record of 8-5 and a 20-14 win in the Sun Bowl. Herm Edwards turned this defense around in a hurry. Now they just need Daniels to emerge and a serious playmaker to step up for him. Head below for our free Arizona State vs. Arizona pick for December 11, 2020.
Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Arizona Wildcats NCAAF Betting Odds:
Arizona State vs. Arizona Prediction:
Arizona is searching for any signs of life on their offense. In what used to be a fairly entertaining offense under Rich Rodriguez, Kevin Sumlin hasn’t been able to get this offense going in the right direction. Sumlin has been the head coach at Arizona since 2018, so he’s not getting fired or anything after this season. If Sumlin and the Wildcats bomb next season, and then again in 2022, I think that’s going to be the end for him at Arizona.
The Wildcats have scored just 374.3 and 20 points per game this season. Their 34-30 loss against the USC Trojans to open the season on November 14 is really the only good game I’ve seen from them, and the offense has continued to regress over the last two outings. Arizona were losers by a score of 27-10 against UCLA, and then a 24-13 loss against Colorado last week. Let’s give Sumlin a break here, though.
He didn’t anticipate that starting quarterback Grant Gunnell would get injured. Gunnell looked strong against USC and Washington, as he threw 6 touchdowns and 1 interception in losing efforts. The offense was certainly respectable with Gunnell running the show. Arizona had to go to their backup against an average UCLA defense. Freshman Will Plummer made UCLA look like a world class defense.
He passed for 151 yards with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Plummer did not show any improvement the next week against Colorado. Plummer was well off the mark again, as he passed for 154 yards and 1 interception on 19 for 32 passing. He faces a really tough challenge against a quality Arizona State defense. Edwards has turned what was a weak defense into a physical, aggressive unit.
The Sun Devils played close games against USC, 28-27, and UCLA, 25-18, but came out on the losing side in both games. They could have easily been on the winning end of a break with their way. Daniels was decent with 359 yards passing with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. His legs are dangerous, and he has galloped for 117 rushing yards and a touchdown through two games. Arizona State holds a huge advantage at quarterback in this game.
I’m expecting Arizona State to pull away as a result of Plummer having issues. It might not be a beatdown out of the gate, but look for Arizona State to edge away slowly. Daniels should have himself a fairly productive evening. The public is going to line up in hoards to bet Arizona as a double-digit underdog. While that’s likely true, the spread is moving in the other direction. I agree with the line movement. It might be a rivalry game for the Territorial Cup, but Arizona likely doesn’t make it far without Gunnell piloting the offense.