It is said that the Holiday Bowl is where dissatisfied Pac-12 teams go to die.
Just take last year's UCLA team for example; the Bruins played the part by losing by 23 to Baylor one month after a Stanford fourth quarter comeback stole their Rose Bowl berth.
Does that tale of disappointment sound familiar? Well it should if you're one of the thousands of Sun Devils who haven't shook Arizona State's 24-point loss to Stanford (Editor's Note: Hypnotherapy, voodoo, magnet therapy or any combination of the three are not adequate coping methods. Trust me, I learned the hard way after the Ravens upset my Broncos last year).
Even before the Pac-12 Championship format was created, San Diego's finest bowl game hasn't been kind to college football's western-most conference. Pac-10/12 schools are 5-8 this century in the Holiday Bowl with the last four margins of defeats being by 21.3 points.
In terms of Arizona State specifically, the Sun Devils are 0-3 all-time in the Holiday Bowl. And in its most recent appearance, ASU did its best to add to the Pac-12's letdown narrative. The Sun Devils were forced to settle for the Holiday Bowl in 2007 despite winning a share of the Pac-10 after the Rose Bowl selection committee shunned Arizona State for USC. The Sun Devils then proceeded to show their self worth by being spanked by Texas, 52-34.
Of course, disappointment is no stranger to Texas Tech. The Red Raiders ride into San Diego sporting a five-game losing streak of their own following their 7-0 start. But if I've learned anything about life in my short time on this planet, it's that one can not underestimate the power of a team coached by Ryan Gosling.
Yet the sheer fact that expressing my pessimism may be enough for the Sun Devils to prevail over any Rose Bowl-bound regrets. Since the Cynical Sun Devil column began running back in Week 8, Arizona State has gone 5-0. Yes, that statistic is a bit fluky considering there was no column for the Pac-12 Championship. But considering the backlash I received after predicting Stanford to win 41-34, I felt I did my pessimistic part for the week.
As it turns out, cynicism is the secret to the Sun Devils' success. So it seems maroon and gold nation is better off pretending that Arizona State will be intimidated by the fact that Kliff Kingsbury was in Remember the Titans. Or something like that.
The Cynical Sun Devil's Worst Case Scenario: Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury arrives wearing the scorpion jacket from the movie Drive. Due to mostly being distracted by Kingsbury's general badassery, the Sun Devils are uncharacteristically flagged nine times on the day...After Todd Graham realizes he doesn't have the best salon-quality hair on the field for once, he smashes his Britney Spears headset in a fit of rage. With their head coach unable to communicate with their team, the Sun Devils panic and call 19 consecutive fullback dives for De'Marieya Nelson. All things considered, it ends up being a very un-high-octane day...Following Texas Tech's 49-13 victory, Kingsbury grabs a mic and quotes The Notebook, promising to write every female in the audience every day for the next year. Within seconds, panties began raining down on the Qualcomm Stadium field. Three Sun Devils end up tragically drowning in the flood of women's underwear.