Monday, December 30, 2013

PS Bowl-A-Thon 2013: Holiday Bowl

Air Raid Sirens are blowing in San Diego where ASU and Texas Tech are going to throw it early, deep and often.

The When/Where:

Monday, December 30th at 10:15 p.m. EST. Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA. ESPN

The Who:

#14 Arizona State Sun Devils (10-3, 8-1 PAC12) vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5, 4-5 Big12)

The Why:

The Holiday Bowl was started to give the WAC Champion an automatic bowl bid. It created some great, high-scoring games with Big 10 schools. Then the Big 12 and Pac10 got the bids. However, with the expansion of the PAC 12 and the smaller Big12 (10 schools) it has become a mismatch to have the #3 PAC12 vs. #5 Big12 team. This is the last year, with the Big Ten returning to the Holiday Bowl in 2014.

It was a tale of two seasons for Texas Tech. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. They won 7 straight to open the season and then lost 5 straight to finish. The competition definitely got better in the second half of the season, but whoa.

The Sun Devils lost to Stanford twice, including at home for the PAC12 title and Notre Dame. They beat Wisconsin, Washington, UCLA among others for big wins. They are actually the #2 team in the PAC12 and here only because the Alamo Bowl chose Oregon over them.

What Smartypants Accounting Guy Would Tell You:

Grease up the scoreboard, air up the football and move back. These teams combine to throw the ball 91 times per game.

Kliff Kingsbury has returned and not surprisingly leads a pass happy offense that threw for almost 400 yds/game and rushed for only 121/game. They scored 35 ppg and at times may have reminded you of the old air raid offenses of Mike Leach. However, in a stunner, QB Baker Mayfield decided to transfer (who knows why) and will not play. TTech will likely go with Freshman Davis Webb who threw for 2,315 yards 16 tds and 9 ints. The Raider defense has been woeful, giving up over 500 yards per game in their final five games.

Arizona State is no slouch on offense, averaging 41 ppg and with balance. QB Taylor Kelly will look often for WR Jaelen Strong who caught 71 balls for over 1,000 yards and 7 touchdowns. Kelly is also a threat to run. State will also have RB Marion Grice back after missing the last two games, he’s 4 yards short of 1,000. The Sun Devil defense is nothing special, but serviceable.

Pool Prognosticators Pattern:

I really like Kliff Kingsbury bringing back the air raid offense to Texas Tech. I saw the Raiders play at Oklahoma in 2008.

I’m going with Arizona State. If I had to pick where I went to college over, I definitely would have taken a visit to Tempe. Others, of course, would have been Georgia, Florida State, South Carolina and Ole Miss.

The Vegas Edge:

Arizona State is a two-touchdown favorite. The over under is 71. I think State can cover. I’d also feel better about the over if I thought TTech’s offense would be rolling without Mayfield. Oh what the hell, it’s a bowl game. There’s no defense.

The Sweatpants Verdict

If you are going to have a mismatch, this at least will be an exciting one. The ball is going to be in the air a lot and there should be points scored by both teams. Make no mistake, ASU is a much better team.

Arizona State 45  Texas Tech 30.

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