The Boise State Broncos missed another field goal in a key game and find themselves playing in the Las Vegas Bowl for the second year in a row instead of playing in a BCS game. Next year, that might all change for the Broncos since they’re moving to the Big East and, hopefully, will play tougher teams like Louisville and West Virginia.
This year, the Broncos take on a team that could have finished third in the Pac 12, and earn a bid to the Holiday Bowl, but lost their final four games to end up with a bid to Sin City. That team, the ASU Sun Devils, will be lead by already fired coach Dennis Erickson for the final time on Dec. 22.
Las Vegas Bowl: Arizona State (6-6) vs Boise State (11-1)
When: Dec. 22 at 8:00 pm EST
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada
Betting Line: Boise State -14, Total 68
Both Boise State and Arizona State are led by solid quarterbacks. Boise State’s Kellen Moore is considered one of the top quarterbacks in college football. The man threw for 41 touchdowns and 3,507 yards to only 7 picks. He racked up a 176.8 QB rating in the 2011 season. During his career, Moore, who will be playing his final game as a Bronco in the Las Vegas Bowl, has thrown for a stunning 14,374 yards and 140 touchdowns.
The Broncos’ offense overall averaged 43.2 points per game during the regulars season, 7th in college football, and 483.1 yards per game on average.
Arizona State counters the fantastic Kellen Moore with 6’ 8”, 240 lb, Brock Osweiler. Osweiler threw for 3,641 yards and 24 touchdowns. He did throw 12 picks, but Osweiler and the Sun Devils played in a much tougher division than the Broncos did this season. ASU’s offense put up a more than respectable 33 points per game, including scoring 43 against USC and 35 against Utah, while averaging 451 yards per game.
Boise State’s defense is one of the best in the nation. The Broncos’ D allowed only 18.2 points per game. That’s 10th in college football. Boise State’s D allowed only 315.6 yards per game. That’s 16th in college football. Boise held a few teams with strong offenses to under 30, like holding Georgia and Tulsa to 21.
ASU’s defense was absolutely terrific in the first half of the season. The Sun Devils held Missouri to 30 points in a 37 to 30 victory, Illinois to 17 in a 14 to 17 loss on the road, and USC to 22 in a 43 to 22 victory over the Trojans. Then, the wheels fell off. Allowing UCLA to score 29, Washington State to score 37, Arizona to score 31 and Cal to score 47 is unacceptable. Overall, the Sun Devils gave up 26.3 points and 420 yards per game on average.
ASU fell apart terribly at the end of the season. They played so badly that ASU’s brass decided to fire coach Dennis Erickson before the end of the season. Erickson will coach the Sun Devils in the Las Vegas Bowl, but it’s doubtful that the players will put forth much of an effort for Erickson.
After all, they didn’t when he really needed them to against UCLA, Washington State, Arizona and Cal. The Arizona loss was particularly heartbreaking to ASU fans since Sun Devils vs Wildcats is one of the more important, unknown, rivalries in college football.
The trends point to Boise State doing a number on ASU. The Broncos are 8 and 2 ATS in their last 10 bowl games. They’re 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games versus a team from the Pac 12 Conference. They’re 5 and 0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 25-12-1 ATS in their last 38 non-conference games.
Plus, Boise State is going to be very motivated to send Kellen Moore to the NFL on a winning note. They should dominate the Sun Devils in the 2011 Las Vegas Bowl. 73% of football handicappers believe that the Broncos cover on Dec. 22. I’m with them.
Pick: Boise State -14