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Pac-12 Championship Game predictions

No. 7 Stanford (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) at No. 11 Arizona State (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12)

Sam: Stanford 24, Arizona State 20

Stanford is better than Arizona State, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If this game were played at Stanford Stadium, I would pick the Cardinal to win big. Stanford matches up very well against the Sun Devils, especially when the Card is on defense. I think ASU will struggle to move the ball and have a very tough time putting points on the board. But this is a road game for Stanford, and that probably means prolonged periods of offensive futility. Expect this game to be close — so close that Arizona State has the ball down by four points with a few minutes left — but the Stanford defense will get that one final stop to secure a berth in the 100th Rose Bowl Game.

George: Stanford 17, Arizona State 20

Stanford is the better team, but I don’t have confidence in Stanford’s offense on the road. I just don’t. The only road game that the Cardinal offense has played well in this year is against Washington State at CenturyLink Field, and that was all the way back in September. I agree that Stanford is more talented across the board, but I just have this feeling that the Sun Devils will be playing some inspired defense in front of their raucous home crowd. Shayne Skov and company will shut down Arizona State’s running game and get to quarterback Taylor Kelly for most of the game, but in the end, I think Kelly will orchestrate a game-winning drive to land the Sun Devils in Pasadena.

Winston: Stanford 24, Arizona State 21

Arizona State has played some fantastic football as of late. I think that as Stanford supporters, the respect we three are giving the Sun Devils is massive, and part of that goes back to Arizona State’s spirited rally in the second half against Stanford: admittedly, a rally that was too little, too late, but a rally nevertheless. Am I confident that Stanford will win? No, and a lot of that is due to the offense’s oft-described struggles. But more than that, rematches are never fun for the winner of the first game. Quite frankly, I don’t know what’s going to happen — Stanford has the potential to win, of course, but it also has the potential to lose. In the face of what we know, I’m going to defer to the defending conference champions. Stanford wins one more classic nailbiter, and the first Pac-12 Rose Bowl team will get to play in the 100th Rose Bowl Game.

About Sam Fisher

Sam Fisher is the managing editor of sports for The Stanford Daily's Vol. 244. Sam also does play-by-play for KZSU's coverage of Stanford football, Stanford baseball and Stanford women's basketball. In 2013, Sam co-authored "Rags to Roses: The Rise of Stanford Football," with Joseph Beyda and George Chen.
  • John Driscoll

    Greetings from Singapore. If it is any consolation, I confess I also shared your scribes’ collective scepticism about the Cardinal’s prospects in Tempe this past weekend. In fact, I secretly hoped for George’s prediction of a hotly contested nailbiter that would at least beat the Vegas point spread.

    My dreams of a lazy, rum soaked tropical holiday lounging around pools in Asia are completely off the table. Thanks to Gaffney, Skov, Murphy, Montgomery, Hogan et al, it looks like a 20 plus hour flight in obscenely priced economy class bulkhead seats, threading through peak holiday crowds transiting Asian airports into immigration queues as long as the line for cars waiting to gas up at Campus Shell during the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo in my sophomore year. That was the last time we had bagged a Rose Bowl before our magical season last year. Hopefully my carrier will file a flight plan ahead of time to comply with China’s new airzone which we are likely to fly over.

    This team has heart. While the mainstream US sports media frowned at the losses to Utah and USC and dismissed our chances, these guys dusted themselves off, got back into the game and did the job. You have to love all of them. It’s worth another long trek to Pasadena to see if, in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, it’s “deja vu all over again”. See you at the tailgater!