Arizona State's regular season concluded on Friday with a 42-35 loss at Arizona, but the team will play in a bowl game later this month or in early January. We take a look at the possibilities below.
Alamo Bowl (January 2)
Assuming Oregon and Arizona each occupy spots in the college football playoff or one of the four access bowls, the Alamo will have its choice of either UCLA, Arizona State, USC, Utah, and Stanford. Realistically, only the Bruins and Sun Devils are being considered. In the four years the bowl has been affiliated with the Pac-12, they have chosen the highest ranked team available each time. Right now, that would be UCLA. The Bruins also have that little 35-point win in Tempe they can hang their hat on.
Arizona State also has some things going for them. While both teams did lose their regular season finales, ASU's close loss at Arizona looks a lot better than getting blown out at home against Stanford. They also figure to travel better. UCLA has played in the state of Texas twice in the past 12 months, and you have to think fans that made those trips won't be returning a third time. ASU has a strong alumni base in that area of the country that showed up well when the Sun Devils played Notre Dame in 2013 in Dallas. I'd say its 50/50 as to who gets the invitation.
As far as opponents go, Kansas State will likely be representing the Big 12 in this game. The Wildcats are 9-2 but figure to drop out of access bowl consideration this weekend when they play at Baylor.
Holiday Bowl (December 27)
If UCLA goes to the Alamo, the Holiday will have its pick of Arizona State or USC. With the Sun Devils having played in this bowl last year, it is unlikely they are selected again. In the 18 years the conference has played in the game, no team has ever made the trip twice in a row. In addition, the Trojans have never played in the Holiday Bowl. I think USC gets the nod.
9-3 Nebraska will likely be the opponent as the fourth best team from the Big Ten.
Foster Farms Bowl (December 30)
If the maroon and gold are still available, the Foster Farms bowl, played in Santa Clara, will undoubtedly take them. The third tier bowl will be ecstatic to get a top 20 Arizona State team. While this looks like an attractive destination, the projected opponent is not very exciting. Expect either 7-5 Maryland or 7-5 Rutgers to make the trip out west. This certainly wouldn't be ASU's first choice as it definitely isn't the best bowl, and the team just made the bowl trip to California two seasons ago when it played in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Navy.