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The pick: Why Washington State will beat Arizona State

PULLMAN – A frigid setting and an opponent that’s heating up – it doesn’t bode well for the visitors.

Arizona State hasn’t played in a cold environment all year. Forecasts call for temperatures in the low 30s when Washington State hosts the Sun Devils at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Gesa Field.

“They understand it’s going to be cold and miserable, but that’s just the way it is,” ASU interim coach Shaun Aguano said.

Bitter Palouse weather should create a nice home-field advantage for WSU, which spent the week practicing in the elements.

“You gotta train and you gotta play in this weather,” Cougars coach Jake Dickert said. “I think that’s important.”

The Cougars, favored by nine points, will be fired up coming off their most complete effort of the season in a 52-14 win over Stanford. That win snapped a three-game losing streak for WSU, which clicked in all phases to move within one win of bowl eligibility.

I expect the Cougars to secure a postseason berth this weekend against the weakest team remaining on their schedule.

WSU’s defense, which sits atop the Pac-12 with 20 points allowed per game, will stay hot and hold down an ASU offense that showed flashes of potential in recent weeks, scoring 35-plus points in three of its past four games. The Sun Devils mustered only 14 points in a loss to Stanford on Oct. 22.

The Cougars rumbled for 306 yards last week during the team’s most productive rushing day in 16 years. The Sun Devils surrendered over 400 yards on the ground last week in a loss to UCLA.

“It’ll take another effort like that versus Arizona State,” Dickert said. “When it’s 30 degrees out, you gotta be able to run the football.”

The pick: Washington State 31, Arizona State 17