Arizona State won five of their first six games in Todd Graham's first season as coach. After such a hot start, it was expected that the Sun Devils would clinch a bowl berth, and they have after defeating Washington State on Senior Day in Tempe.
Before we focus all our attention on rivalry week against the hated Arizona Wildcats, lets take a moment to look at the Pac-12 bowl picture.
Pac-12 teams that are bowl eligible: Eight teams: Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, USC, UCLA, Arizona, ASU
Pac-12 teams that still have work to do: Utah must defeat both Arizona and Colorado to hit the six-win requirement for bowl eligibility.
Pac-12 bowl tie-ins: Seven bowls: Rose, Alamo, Holiday, Sun, MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, Kraft Fight Hunger, New Mexico
As it stands, the Pac-12 will fill all its bowl slots and then some. This ultimately depends on how the BCS picture shakes out. If Oregon goes undefeated and wins the Pac-12 Championship Game, they will likely be the sole representative from the conference. This is all subjective, but for the sake of this article we will presume they will be the only Pac-12 team in the BCS bowls.
After the BCS is done selecting their matchups, the bowls are allowed to select any bowl eligible team from the Pac-12 in the order they see fit. These selections are based on many factors, including how well the fanbase travels, school proximity to the bowl game and prestige.
- The Oregon Ducks are selected to play in the BCS National Championship Game.
- The Alamo Bowl selects the UCLA Bruins vs. Big Ten.
- The Holiday Bowl selects the USC Trojans vs. Big 12.
- The Sun Bowl selects the Stanford Cardinal vs. ACC.
- The Maaco Bowl selects the Oregon State Beavers vs. Mountain West.
- The Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl selects the Washington Huskies vs. Navy.
- The New Mexico Bowl selects the Arizona Wildcats vs. Mountain West.
Where does that leave the Arizona State Sun Devils? It depends on which conference fizzles out in the bowl eligibility department. Right now, the ACC seems to be the prime target for a bowl takeover. Lets take a quick poll of the professionals:
Phil Steele projected that ASU would take on Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl, held on December 28 in Shreveport, La.
Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel projected that ASU would play Middle Tennessee in the Miltary Bowl, held on December 27 in Washington, D.C.
CBS Sports' Jerry Palm agrees with Mandel, pitting ASU against Louisiana in the Military Bowl.
Being in DC, I would personally enjoy ASU playing down the street at RFK Stadium. However, I see it as a real possibility that there will be two Pac-12 teams in the BCS, which would likely send the Devils to Albuquerque to play in the New Mexico Bowl.