MAACO Bowl Preview: Arizona St. vs. Boise State


MAACO Bowl Las Vegas

Arizona St. vs. Boise St.

8:00 PM ET, December 22, 2011 Point Spread: Boise St. -14

Arizona St.: The Sun Devils are looking to add a silver lining to an ultimately disappointing season. After beating then No. 21 Missouri and No. 23 USC, the Sun Devils looked poised to make a splash in the Pac-12 that featured national powerhouses Stanford and Oregon (both playing in BCS bowls). But they faltered down the stretch, losing their final four games to stumble into the MAACO Bowl at just 6-6.

Arizona St. relies heavily on its powerful pass attack to win games, which will be a major key for them if they hope to upset the Broncos. Led by 6-foot-8 quarterback Brock Osweiler (officially the biggest quarterback in college football) and his 310 passing yards per game (11th best in the country), the Sun Devils will have to outscore a prolific Boise offense because their defense is giving up over 26 points per game. Arizona St. is also dealing with its latest coaching change, bringing in Pittsburgh’s Todd Graham to replace Dennis Erickson. The coaching change right before the bowl could really hinder the Arizona St. offensive flow, making for a long night in the Vegas desert.

Boise St.: The Broncos land the MAACO Bowl for the second straight season after an errant November field goal doomed their national championship dreams for the second straight season. Despite only defeating only one ranked team this season (No. 19 Georgia in the season opener) many felt the BCS again snubbed Boise, who finished at No. 7 in the BCS standings. Led by the all-time winningest quarterback in FBS history Kellen Moore, the Broncos are looking to make a serious statement against the Sun Devils to prove they deserved better.

Boise ranks in the top 10 in passing yards per game (310.3), points for per game (43.3), and points against per game (18.3). The Broncos defense played well this season, but their secondary was susceptible to big plays through the air, which could bite them against a strong Sun Devil pass attack. Boise gave up 473 passing yards to TCU, their only loss of the season. That might be the only weakness in this Boise team that Arizona St. could exploit for an upset.

Prediction: Given Arizona St.’s recent coaching change and the offensive powers of Kellen Moore and the Broncos, this one is a no-brainer. Boise deserved better and will prove it. BSU by 24.