Arizona State turns up the heat -- literally

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Driving to Sun Devils Stadium for Arizona State's tilt with Stanford tonight, my car thermometer read 110 degrees.

The front page of the Arizona Republic says it's presently (6:15 p.m. PT) 105.

I plugged that information into my supercomputer, and it deduced this: It's really, really hot.

Enjoy, Stanford.

Last year about this time -- and temperature -- Colorado came to Tempe and jumped ahead 14-0 in the first quarter.

Colorado then simply wilted, surrendering 33 consecutive points to the Sun Devils.

"I like it when it's hot," Arizona State QB Rudy Carpenter said this week. "It's good for us."

Yes, it is.

A hour before game time and the student section is mostly full with gold-shirted Sun Devil adherents, and these hardy souls -- the sort who always call it "a dry heat" -- are flicking fans back-and-forth trying not to slow roast.

Plugging the on-field variables into that ol' supercomputer again, and it's hard to imagine Stanford prevailing this evening.

ASU is more talented in the first place. Oregon State's flop today at Penn State also took some of the gleam off the Cardinal's opening win over the Beavers last week.

And this is a heck of a home-field advantage.

Normally, this is when a sports media sort would talk about how important it is that Stanford start fast and establish confidence and take the crowd out of the game.

And that's true in this case, to an extent.

It's just hard to believe Stanford, not the deepest team in any event, can start fast enough that when exhaustion inevitably sets in, they can hold on in the fourth quarter -- particularly against a veteran QB like Carpenter, who can run any defense ragged.

Sure, the Sun Devils' offensive line is questionable, but the Cardinal secondary is just as uncertain, particularly with CB Corey Gatewood hobbled with a sprained ankle and free safety Austin Yancy out with a hamstring injury.

Unless ASU wide receivers Michael Jones (Achilles) and Chris McGaha (toe) also can't finish -- both are probable but banged up -- the Sun Devil advantage here is striking.

And probably decisive.