Monday, Dec. 25 (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Boston College (6-5) vs. Arizona St. (6-5)
In bowl games, emotion and focus play a large role in determining which team comes away with the victory.
|The Aloha Bowl marks Bruce Snyder's last chance to coach the Sun Devils.|
In the case of the Eagles and Sun Devils, both teams are looking to make amends for what transpired in their bowl games last year. Arizona State was dominated from start to finish by Wake Forest, falling 23-3. BC was handled easily by Colorado (62-28).
At ASU, Bruce Snyder will be leading the Sun Devils into battle for the last time. He will then turn over control of the program to highly regarded former Boise State head coach Dirk Koetter.
You would expect the Sun Devils to be fired up in this one. They ended with just a 6-5 record, but with a break or two, they could have finished 9-2.
Later in the campaign, the Sun Devils went through a brutally tough three-week stretch where they were extended into overtime in games against Washington State, Oregon and USC. They dropped two of the three, falling 56-55 to Oregon and losing 44-38 to USC.
Two of their other losses were hard-fought struggles that ended with UCLA winning 38-31 and Washington pulling out a 21-15 victory over ASU.
The only time the Sun Devils didn't take a game to the final minutes came against Stanford (29-7) where they had to be physically spent after those three straight overtime games. And to their credit, the Sun Devils recharged emotionally after the Stanford loss, coming away with a 30-17 win over Arizona which allowed the Sun Devils to earn a trip to Hawaii.
In this game, I expect ASU to light up the scoreboard. QB Jeff Krohn will lead the attack, while RBs Tom Pace and Michael Williams effectively balance things out against the suspect BC run defense.
|Arizona State QB Jeff Krohn, right, is hugged by teammate Jason Moore after completing a touchdown pass early this season.|
When BC has the ball, QB Tim Hasselbeck and RB Cedric Washington will have to come up big, especially considering that standout William Green (who is suspended) won't be available to combine with Washington to form what has been an outstanding one-two punch.
All of BC's six wins this season came against teams that will not be participating in postseason action.
The Eagles' wins came against Army, Navy, Connecticut, Syracuse, Rutgers and Temple. And of their five losses, the only game that ended in less than a two-TD defeat was their 28-16 setback to Notre Dame late in the year.
Summary: I would look for a monumental effort from the Sun Devils. The players will do everything in their power to send coach Snyder out with a victory. They also proved throughout the season that they have the necessary talent to get the job done against any team on their schedule. The Sun Devils showed on the field that they are much better than a 6-5 record tends to indicate. Hasselbeck and Washington need to come up big for the Eagles, but not having a talent like Green available for this game really hurts.