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Arizona State vs. Texas Tech: Holiday Bowl predictions

The House of Sparky writers weren't shy about predicting a win Monday in a big way.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Two years of Todd Graham-led football, two bowl games for Arizona State.

The Sun Devils enter Monday night's Holiday Bowl as big 14-point favorites over the Texas Tech Red Raiders. But does our staff of writers all believe that Arizona State is set for their second consecutive bowl blowout? Let's find out:

Kerry Crowley: Arizona State 55, Texas Tech 24

The Sun Devils enter the Holiday Bowl as large favorites and I think most people (including many Texas Tech fans) have already counted the Red Raiders out. I'm predicting a 31-point victory for the Sun Devils, but I wouldn't be shocked if Texas Tech kept up with Arizona State because the Red Raiders present so many matchup issues. Defensively, the Sun Devils don't match up well with elite tight ends because SPUR linebacker Anthony Jones is more of a run-stopper. I think to stop Jace Amaro, the Sun Devils have to get creative and devote their game plan to limiting his effect. Once they do that, the Sun Devils also have to worry about Jakeem Grant who can hurt Arizona State out of the slot.

The key for Arizona State in this game is getting off to a hot start offensively. Texas Tech's defense has self-imploded over the last five games, but there was a point in the season at which the Red Raiders were playing with a lot of confidence and beginning to string together solid outings. If the Red Raiders regain their groove, the Sun Devils might be in trouble. Fortunately, Arizona State can rely on one of the brightest offensive minds in college football in Mike Norvell to engineer an attack that will pick apart Texas Tech.

When Todd Graham and his staff have ample time to prepare for a game, they have always done exceedingly well. That's why I think the Sun Devils will jump out in front of the Red Raiders and force them to play catch up. And that's why I think Arizona State ultimately earns its 11th win of the season.

Bold Prediction: The field conditions at Qualcomm Stadium become a major storyline.

Ben Haber: Arizona State 59, Texas Tech 24

Texas Tech reminds Todd Graham of Washington State and we all know Arizona State demolished them. I agree with the comparison and the same result should hold true. Kliff Kingsbury is among the best coaches in college football already despite being only 34 years old. On the contrary, Todd Graham loves to coach the defense up against one-dimensional offenses like the Red Raiders. Regardless of quarterback Backer Mayfield transferring, Texas Tech is going to air it out around 75 percent of the time. Balanced attacks expose the Arizona State defense while predictable attacks normally cough the football up. I expect the Red Raiders to turn the ball over at least twice, setting up Taylor Kelly.

The major separating factor between the two Holiday bowl participants can be seen via Arizona State on offense and Texas Tech on defense. Arizona State scores at will against basically anyone besides Stanford. Texas Tech gives up a plethora of points. The combination of these details means things are going to get ugly.

Bold prediction: Taylor Kelly throws for 400 yards and 3+ touchdowns

Nick Krueger: Arizona State 49, Texas Tech 35

Expect nothing less than a high-flying passing attack from both teams. The Sun Devils may be a little more balanced but I don't think over 500 yards of total offense is out of the question for the Red Raiders either. The one piece that worries me about this Texas Tech team is that they've lost five straight and is down and out on luck. Not since the days of Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree have Texas Tech had any expectations at the end of the season. It won't be seen as a disappointment to Red Raider fans if lose the bowl game. When a potent offense plays with heart like it has nothing to lose and mad that they have lost five straight with no one giving them a fighting chance in this game either, it can be scary.

Arizona State on the other hand has everything to gain. An 11-win season would be a tremendous building block for this program going forward. It's no secret that the Red Raiders are going to air it out. When Todd Graham knows exactly what the other team is going to do and is given three weeks to prepare for it, there really isn't any reason the Sun Devils shouldn't win comfortably. Texas Tech has the ability, and will make it interesting early but once the rust shakes off from three weeks without competition, ASU will find its groove defensively and pull away easily.

Bold prediction: The Arizona State defense accumulates five or more sacks as a team.

Danny Shapiro: Arizona State 55, Texas Tech 24

There's no reason ASU should lose this game. Texas Tech enters losers of five straight, giving up 48.6 points per game during the stretch. The Sun Devils have jumped all over inferior opponents all season and Texas Tech should be no exception. Taylor Kelly and the offense will be playing with a little extra fire after scoring a season-low 14 points against Stanford in the Pac-12 title game. Even without Marion Grice, the Sun Devils will be able to move the ball handily against the Red Raiders. Offensively, Texas Tech will be forced to go with backup quarterback Davis Webb after starter Baker Mayfield announced earlier his intention of transferring.

Everything favors ASU and the Sun Devils will send out their senior class with the program's first 11-win season since 1996.

Bold prediction: Arizona State will score 40+ points in the first half.

Cody Ulm: Arizona State 55, Texas Tech 31

It may be a bowl game but when it comes down to it, this is really a "taking care of business" type of game. After all the success the Sun Devils have found in 2013, they cannot afford to end the season on a two-game losing streak. While Texas Tech is no pushover, they certainly don't have the momentum or build to take down an Arizona State team of this caliber. Any less than a two-score defeat should be considered an embarrassment for the Sun Devils.

All that said, I fully expect Arizona State to come out guns blazing. There are few coaches in college football that I have more confidence in than Todd Graham when you allow him extra prep time for an opponent. I envision a polished and powerful Sun Devil performance Monday night. And as Danny predicted, I wouldn't be surprised if ASU is pushing 40 by halftime.

Bold Prediction: Jaelen Strong will score three touchdowns.