30.Sep.2011 Oregon State @ Arizona State (Pre-game)
When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose. –Bob Dylan
An argument for Oregon State sound something like this:
- They can only go up from here.
- They've beaten ASU three times in a row.
- They'll be playing loose with nothing to lose.
- Beavs play best when nothing is expected of them.
- They're hungry for a win.
- Beavs get healthier this week.
That's a lot of secondary, circumstantial reasons to like the Beavers. As much as I'd like to ignore them and instead rely on individual matchups (that clearly favor ASU), it is hard to do so entirely. There is an element of truth that a loose team with everything to gain is dangerous. It's not abnormal for a young team to (subconsciously) destroy all expectations before pleasantly surprising.
I also think that given all the criticism around the program, it might be best for them to get out of Corvallis and deal with unfamiliar boos rather than familiar negativity and criticism. What I am saying, and this is counter-intuitive, is that I believe the Beavers are better off on the road this weekend. Their home town fans might be more of a drag on morale than opponents' fans.
For these reasons, I like the Beavers to keep this game fairly close. I can't in good faith predict a victory, but I think the game will be near even at the half. Some of that will be due to the Beavs playing well, and some will be due to the Sun Devils handing out yardage via personal fouls. Arizona State will use speed, break some big runs, and pull away around the midpoint in the third quarter, ultimately winning by 11. Beavs play well for the first half but can't sustain it. Fans feel disappointed in the loss, but apathy makes defeat easier to swallow. Coaches and players focus on the positives. Riley talks about growth and finding an identity in post-game interviews.
38-27, Sun Devils