Why ASU is a Pac-12 contender

Todd Graham and the Sun Devils can make a major statement by beating Stanford this weekend. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The scoreboard may trump all, but it doesn't always tell an accurate tale.

This is especially true in the case of the game between the Wisconsin Badgers and Arizona State Sun Devils. The general perception of this contest is that the Badgers gave away a win via a combination of a risky play call to center the ball with no timeouts and some less-than-stellar officiating. (You can read about how the final play went down here.)

This perception is part of what is causing the Sun Devils' victory to be discounted to the extent they are considered a touchdown underdog headed into this weekend's matchup against the Stanford Cardinal (the fact that the Cardinal are a top-five team is part of it as well). But upon closer examination of the game tape and metrics, it becomes clear that Arizona State is capable of winning this weekend's game and establishing itself as both the team to beat in the Pac-12 South and a conference title contender.