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Colorado opens as underdogs at #24 Arizona State

The Buffs travel to Tempe for Saturday’s opener.

Arizona State v Colorado Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

When the Colorado Buffaloes open Pac-12 play on Saturday, they will be underdogs on the road against the Arizona State Sun Devils.

That early movement from 9.0 to 7.5 suggests that either ASU is being overhyped or Colorado is being slept on. It’s probably both.

The Sun Devils enter this contest ranked 24th in the nation. They are not the 24th best team, not even close. They struggled badly in their first two games against Kent State (lost to FCS Kennesaw State) and Sacramento State (a mid-tier FCS team). They upset #18 Michigan State on the road, winning 10-7, but that’s not really an upset because Michigan State is not a good football team. The Spartans went 7-6 last year, got a preseason ranking based off their reputation, and have nothing really against a weak non-conference schedule.

Even more troubling for ASU is their complete lack of offense. They have scored 59 points in their first three games, including 16 first half points combined. Keep in mind the competition. Also note that Michigan State outgained them nearly 2:1 and it required a referee mishap to award the Devils the win.

It’s so easy to look at the Pac-12 South and decry “trash”. But I have to look in the mirror as well. If the Buffs had beaten Air Force, they might be ranked in the Top 25 (there’s a lack of good teams after #20), but no, they were badly outplayed by a more focused and disciplined team. I can make fun of ASU’s first half offense, but Colorado is physically incapable of playing defense until the second half. (Maybe we’ll the completely movable force versus the completely stoppable object.)

This game is probably 50/50. ASU and CU are both not great, but they still might finish 2nd and 3rd in the Pac-12 South. (USC is bad.) Maybe I’m just upset ASU is ranked for beating a bad Michigan State team, and that CU probably should have played better on Saturday.

One last note: The Buffs beat down Sparky in 2018, should have won in Tempe in 2017 (Shay Fields dropped a 76-yard touchdown, then Devin Ross dropped another touchdown), and blew them out in 2016 via Phillip Lindsay’s indestructible legs.