Thursday, December 22, 2011

Boise Sate vs. Arizona State--Strange Game

Don't listen the the pre-MAACO Las Vegas Bowl hype. Boise State, 11-1 and 8th ranked, doesn't want to be in this bottom-tier bowl, playing Arizona State, a 6-6, Pac12 team that suffered such an ugly collapse at the end of the season that its coach, Dennis Erickson, was fired.

Boise had its sights on a big-time BCS bowl, but a 36-35  loss to TCU on a missed field goal ended that dream. This isn't even a good non-BCS bowl. Its one of  those pre-Christmas bowls, which have zero prestige. For Boise this is deja vu. It was stuck in this same stinker last year, again due to a loss because of a missed field goal. Last year, Boise rose to the occasion and walloped Utah, 26-3. When they got word they'd be bowling in Vegas again, you just know they were moaning: "Oh no not again!" But all you heard from them was that "glad to be in Vegas" malarkey.

Nobody gives Arizona State, a 14-point underdog, much of a chance. With fired leader Erickson coaching his last game, things do look bleak. It's hard to imagine the Sun Devils entering this game with a positive additude, particularly with their best player, Vontaze Burfict in Erickson's doghouse for misbehaving in the season-ending Cal loss. Burfict might not play, which robs Arizona State of one of its best weapons.

It's hard to tell if Boise is really that much better than Arizona State. Boise is a good team playing in a lousy conference. They finished the season manhandling an awful New Mexico team, 45-0. Manhandling bad teams is what Boise does best.  Arizona State did start 6-2 and was ranked in the Top 25. The Sun Devils' QB, Brock Osweiler, is one of the best in the country, boasting stats as good as Boise's heralded  QB Kellen Moore.

With the Sun Deils in such turmoil, it's hard to imagine them winning outright, but it's likely they'll at least beat the 14-point spread. Remember Boise is no better than a fourth-or-fifth place Pac 12 team.. Another thing to keep in mind--early in the season, the Sun Devils beat USC. The talent is there. If their mental attitude is right they could give Boise a good battle.