The Arizona State Sun Devils will be staying in their own state for a postseason bowl.
No, it's not for the 2016 National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium as the Sun Devils hoped, or even the Fiesta Bowl.
The Sun Devils will instead be making roughly a 10-mile drive from Tempe to play at the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl at Chase Field in Phoenix, the Fiesta Bowl Committee announced Sunday. Arizona State (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12) will face the West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5, 4-5 Big 12).
"This is a great opportunity for this team, especially these seniors, to finish out the season in our Valley in front of Sun Devil Nation," ASU coach Todd Graham said in a statement released to the media. "West Virginia is a tough opponent and I look forward to an entertaining matchup in a unique environment at Chase Field."
The Mountaineers won three out of their final four games including a 38-20 victory over Texas. Their five conference losses came to Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State, TCU and a 24-23 defeat to Kansas State to end the season. They rank top-40 nationally in both points per game and points allowed per game.
Todd Graham has history with West Virginia and coach Dana Holgorsen. Graham served as an defensive coordinator at West Virginia under current Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez from 2001-02. According to AthlonSports.com, Graham and Holgorsen have feuded in the past when they exchanged words in 2009 after the Houston Cougars, which had Holgorsen as offensive coordinator, defeated Graham's Tulsa Golden Hurricane team 45-40. Holgorsen accused Tulsa of faking injuries to Graham's disapproval.
This is the first time ASU will play in an Arizona-based bowl since 2005 when it defeated the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 45-40 in the Insight Bowl — which is coincidentally the last college football game Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, hosted.
"What an exceptional way for our university and community to close the 2015 season and simultaneously open the New Year," Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director Ray Anderson said. "This will be an exciting game in our hometown, in front of our fans, with Chase Field less than a mile from Arizona State University's Downtown Phoenix campus and an easy Phoenix Metro Light Rail ride away from our Tempe campus, west Mesa and north Phoenix."
The Motel 6 Cactus Bowl is the current name of the Phoenix-based bowl that pits the Pac-12 vs. the Big 12, and was formerly known as the TicketCity Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Insight Bowl and the Copper Bowl sponsored by Domino's Pizza and Weiser Lock (yes we know it's confusing).
ASU is 6-1 in bowl games played in Arizona.
The Valley Metro light rail runs directly between Chase Field and Sun Devil Stadium and is approximately a 25-minute trip each way.