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How To Bet On Illinois Arizona State – Illini, Sun Devils Meet With New Coaches In Place

Posted by Blake Frazier on 9/4/2012 6:17:04 PM

The Illinois Fighting Illini and the Arizona State Sun Devils are both tackling the 2012 season with brand-new head coaches. How these teams adjust will say much about their encounter.

Illinois Fighting Illini @ Arizona State Sun Devils – Saturday, September 8    
Legal online sports betting line: No line

Why Illinois Will Win

If being an athletic director means playing your cards right, the Arizona State Sun Devils did not fare very well at the online poker table. The Sun Devils and former athletic director Lisa Love were just about set to hire the highly-respected June Jones as their new head coach last December, following the dismissal of former coach Dennis Erickson.

However, at the very last minute, Jones backed out of the running for the job in a very mysterious manner. Love and her associate, Steve Patterson, presided over a messy search that clumsily ended with the hiring of Todd Graham, a man just one year into his stay at the University of Pittsburgh. The decision to tab Graham was an odd one, especially since Pittsburgh was the first BCS conference job Graham had ever held. Moreover, Pittsburgh did not do much of anything in Graham's one season in the Steel City. Arizona State did not get the best possible replacement for Erickson, and as a result, the program – with Patterson now at the helm as the permanent athletic director – is very much at a crossroads.

Arizona State doesn't really know what it has in Graham because Graham's status as a coach is not yet known. He never gave himself a chance to finish his work at Pittsburgh, so he remains an uncertain commodity. Moreover, the very fact that Graham would leave a BCS conference job after only 11 months suggests that he is trying to game the college football coaching industry more than tend to the intricacies of the coaching craft. Illinois can step into this situation and catch Arizona State napping on Saturday night in the desert.

Why Arizona State Will Win

If college football betting outcomes are based on coaching experience, it's going to be hard to favor Illinois in this tilt. It's true that ASU head coach Todd Graham is less than fully proven, but Illinois boss Tim Beckman isn't yet deserving of a better reputation in terms of on-field performance.

It's true that Beckman, one of the younger head coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision, turned Toledo into a bowl-winning program and delivered the goods for the Rockets. However, Toledo is a Mid-American Conference program, residing in the tenth-best FBS conference (better than the Sun Belt and no other conference). Graham, for his part, managed to make Rice into a winner in Conference USA, and he later turned in multiple winning seasons at Tulsa. Conference USA is a better league than the MAC, so one could make a clear argument that Graham has done more in his coaching career than Beckman has. This could translate into an advantage for Arizona State.

Who Will Win

It’s worth noting that Illinois won a very close game when these two teams met last season. Now that Arizona State gets to host the Illini, it will probably be able to turn the tables. Pick the Sun Devils here.

College Football Betting Pick: Arizona State

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