SPOOKY EXPRESS BOWLING FOR DOLLARS SELECTION AND ANALYSIS THREAD
NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL
NAVY vs. ARIZONA STATE
Saturday, Dec. 29, 3:15 pm
While many didn’t realize it at the time, most of Arizona State’s early-season efforts and the excitement surrounding new HC Todd Graham that had fans in the Zona briefly dreaming about a BCS trip were quite the false alarm; in retrospect, wins over what would turn out to be extremely-disappointing Illinois, Utah, and Cal teams were nothing to brag about, and a close loss against a Missouri side that would be outclassed in the SEC and was using its backup QB to boot should have been a red flag. Indeed, once the schedule began to upgrade at mideseason, ASU fell back into the Pac-12 South pack as its defense was exposed by more-competent opposition. The question in San Francisco is whether Navy has enough in its unorthodox arsenal to damage the ASU defense, as did the likes of the better teams on the Sun Devil schedule. Or, more specifically, can the Mids do enough damage to exploit the substantial pointspread cushion provided by the oddsmakers? Though not a vintage Navy team, the Navy's efforts definitely improved after true frosh QB Keenan Reynolds relieved starter Trey Miller in the second half at Air Force when Navy rallied for an OT win that effectively turned around their season (with seven victories in their last eight games). The pressure will be on an ASU’s “D” that wasn’t too stout vs. the run and was more adept vs. more traditional offensive sets although playing a true triple option for the first time this season maybe may not be so effective.
There is enough evidence to suggest ASU breaks its 3-game bowl drought. But extending the margin beyond 2 TDs vs. an unorthodox and feisty underdog is another matter limited stature-wise due to military restrictions. They, of course, make it up with heart, enthusiasm, preparation and focus and have always been a solid play in bowls. Arizona States is among the NCAA leaders in sacks and we feel they’ll struggle having to play disciplined defense vs the option. On defense Navy will have to get a pass rush to keep it close but we think they may be able to do that. I have Arizona State winning by almost 2 touchdowns but giving up more than that makes this a no play at this time and will definitely have to wait until later to determine if we are playing this game at all. Still not a strong feeling on this game and do lean with Navy to keep this under the number but all things considered really cant pull the trigger on a side for this game so lets go with the total which I feel pretty strongly about.
NAVY/ARIZONA STATE OVER 52 POINTS
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