Nov 8, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils place kicker Alex Garoutte (25) celebrates with teammates after beating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 55-31 at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
December 27 College Bowl Picks: Sun Bowl
Arizona State (-7.5) vs. Duke | El Paso, TX | 2pm ET (CBS)
This is a good matchup of the ACC and Pac-12. Duke was one of the most consistent teams in the ACC all season long, while Arizona State was one of the most consistent in college football.
Duke stumbled late in the year, getting clipped by Virginia Tech and blown out by UNC, costing them another crack at Florida State in the ACC title game. None of that changes the fact that this is a solid Blue Devils football team that won nine games, mostly on the backs of a defense that played well in all but a few games.
Then comes Arizona State, the team with the offense and the resume. The offense comes mostly from quarterback Taylor Kelly, who missed three games this season but still managed 20 touchdowns; backup Mike Bercovici threw 12. These guys helped keep the ball moving against some tough opponents; Arizona State beat four ranked teams this season (out of six they played).
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One might expect that Arizona State’s defense has taken a pounding at times from the teams they have played, which it did, but the better defenses kept Kelly and the Sun Devils in check.
Looking at this game logically and dispassionately, Arizona State is the better team, and they are probably destined to win this one. However, Duke has had a habit of contending in most tough games these last couple years under David Cutcliffe; considering that their defense is also very good, it is less of a stretch. This is a gut feeling pick that the Sun Devils will win but the Blue Devils will cover.