NCAA Football Arizona State Sun Devils

Can Arizona State Keep Sacramento State from a Third Straight Win Over the Pac-12?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Scheduling FCS opponents early in the season has become a college football tradition, a way for major college programs to start the season 1-0 while easing into a new football season. As eight FCS teams proved last weekend, though, not all of them are pushovers. The Sacramento State Hornets take on the Arizona State Sun Devils in Tempe tonight, and considering last weekend’s upsets, as well as the Hornets’ track record of wins over Pac-12 opponents, the Sun Devils have good reason to be concerned.

ASU has an 11-0 all-time record over FCS teams, but Sacramento State won against its last two BCS opponents, both from the Pac-12. In 2011, the Hornets beat Oregon State in overtime to start the Beavers’ slide to 3-9, and last season, they knocked off the miserable Colorado Buffaloes with a last second field goal.

Will the Hornets three-peat?

Probably not.

Unlike some of the FCS programs that came away with hefty paychecks and wins last weekend, Sacramento State’s recent upsets of BCS programs have not come against formidable opponents or by large margins.

Reigning FCS Champion North Dakota State outplayed the reigning Big 12 champion Kansas State in an impressive victory last weekend, but needing a field goal to squeak out a win over the 2012 Colorado team says much more about how poorly the Buffaloes played than how strong the Hornets are.

The Hornets need a big win after opening their 2013 season with a 24-0 loss at San Jose State. They’d love to put that shutout behind them with a statement win over the Sun Devils, but ASU is more than capable of winning this one big.

And after watching team after team fall to FCS opponents last weekend, there’s no chance the Sun Devils are going to overlook Sacramento State this season. The Hornets may have won their last two against Pac-12 teams, but tonight the third time will be the charm for the Pac-12 when Arizona State gets its first win of the year.