- KC Joyner, NFL Insider
The Arizona State Sun Devils were not a favorite to win the Pac-12 South division heading into 2013, but there were a number of reasons why they should have been considered the leading contender (many of which were detailed in an Insider article I wrote in February).
Despite being underestimated for much of this season, the perception still seems to be that the Sun Devils will be the underdog heading into the Pac-12 title game. After all, they are ranked much lower than the Stanford Cardinal, their Pac-12 North division opponent in that contest, in the USA Today poll (Stanford No. 10; Arizona State No. 18), AP poll (Stanford No. 8; Arizona State No. 13) and the BCS standings (Stanford No. 8; Arizona State No. 12).
One might argue that Stanford deserves a higher spot because it started the year in the Top 25 and Arizona State began the season unranked, but that line of reasoning isn't backed by the myriad evidence that strongly points toward the Sun Devils currently being the better team. Further, as long as Arizona State doesn't overlook Arizona this week, it should add home-field edge in the Pac-12 title game to its list of advantages over the Cardinal which, all taken together, should propel the Sun Devils to the conference crown.
KC Joyner outlines a variety of metrics that illustrate Arizona State's advantages over Stanford that likely will lead the Sun Devils to the Pac-12 title.