Stanford is a beast. They have been to three straight BCS games, are the defending Pac-12 and Rose Bowl Champs, have a record of 25-4 under head coach David Shaw and are becoming a factory for sending players to the NFL.
With that being said, ASU can and will play with them Saturday in Palo Alto. I don’t expect ASU to win, but I certainly expect them to be in the game and to have their chances.
The reason being is that as good as Stanford is, they don’t really blow anybody out. They are not Oregon. They methodically break you down, wear you out and defeat you. And they don’t do it with any style points.
To use a boxing analogy: Oregon is Mike Tyson and Stanford is Larry Holmes. Tyson got the flashy knockouts, Holmes jabbed his way to decisions.
Put it this way — last season Stanford beat San Jose State by three; USC by seven; Arizona by six in overtime, Washington State by seven; Oregon State by four; Oregon by three; UCLA by there and Wisconsin by six. They lost to Washington by four and Notre Dame by seven in overtime.
So Stanford goes 12-2 on the season and 10 of their games are decided by seven or fewer points. This past week, they led Army 20-13 at the half and won 34-20. Oregon, on the other hand, destroys its prey, winning all 12 of its game last season by double digits and nine of them by 20 or more points.
Stanford is physical, talented and deep. They are one of the top teams in the country. But most teams can play with Stanford, they just can’t beat them. Maybe ASU pulls a Washington from last season and shocks the world. More than likely, they’ll keep it close and lose.
But you certainly can expect the Devils to have their opportunities to win and to make things interesting.