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On 12/22/2011 10:53 AM in NCAA Football
All selections, analysis and thoughts will be posted on the Bowl Express Thread

Las Vegas Bowl
Boise State vs. Arizona State

Thursday, Dec. 22, 8:00 pm

Boise State may be the Rodney Dangerfield of NCAA Football: “No respect, no respect at all ... that’s the story of my life.” The Broncos are probably two points away from contending for the national championship. If not for freshman kicker Dan Goodale’s 39-yard field goal attempt drifting wide right as time expired in the TCU game, the boys in blue would be undefeated and likely at the top of the list to square off against No. 1 LSU. Instead, the team is rewarded with a matchup against 6-6 Arizona State in a return trip to the Maaco Bowl. Despite winning most of their games going away, Boise State’s success is perennially considered the result of a light schedule. This will be Kellen Moore’s final college football game. Regardless of the outcome, he will finish his time at this level as the winningest quarterback in FBS history.

Arizona State’s season was a tale of two halves: 5-1 in the first half and 1-5 in the second half. The nose dive at the end of the season cost veteran head coach Dennis Erickson his job. A game loaded with potential NFL draft picks, the four premier prospects all play when Boise State is on offense. Kellen Moore, one of the most consistent and efficient quarterbacks in NCAA history, will get his last chance to show off his elite touch and his game understanding, both of which may be the best in the draft (including compared to Andrew Luck). Also on his offense, running back Doug Martin is the near consensus top senior runner in this draft, and could go as high as the middle to early second round. And on the offensive line, tackle/guard prospect Nate Potter has a chance to be a top four round prospect himself. Finally, Arizona State will attempt to put pressure on Moore and contain Martin with star inside linebacker (a likely declaring junior) Vontaze Burfict. Burfict is an outstanding athlete and has a Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis ceiling, but his over-aggression as well as his off-the field issues may be the only two reasons he won't be a top 15 pick.

Boise State should want to prove something in this game. They were snubbed for a BCS game, despite an exceptional season including an impressive road victory against the SEC east division winner, Georgia. They are deserving of a better stage. Arizona State was in free fall at the end of the regular season and barely qualified for the postseason. Their coach is gone and a new hire (Todd Graham from Pittsburgh) has been plagued by controversy for the callus way he departed his former team. There is little incentive for this club to get up for such a strong opponent. There really is nothing to pick. Expect well-coached, fundamentally sound Boise to run roughshod over the wild, undisciplined stylings of ASU, which figures to be even more out of control than usual playing under a lame duck coaching staff. The Sun Devils' athleticism may result in some points getting put on the board, but Kellen Moore goes out big here and the game won't be close. This is among the most lopsided of matchups in the 2011 bowl schedule. Boise State will win this game hands down. This looks like one of the safest bets of bowl season to me. I have Boise winning this game by 3 touchdowns. And really think there should be scoring in this game big time


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