Of all the bowl games that involve two BCS teams, the National University Holiday Bowl may end up being the most lopsided. Heading into the contest, the No. 14 Arizona State Sun Devils are 16-point favorites over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Arizona State went 10-3 this season to win the Pac-12 South. The Red Raiders finished the regular season at 7-5 and haven’t won in over two months.
There was a time when Texas Tech was considered to be one of the best teams in college football. They won seven straight games to start the year and were ranked No.10 in the nation. Once the team’s schedule got tougher, though, they could no longer pick up a victory. The Red Raiders lost five in a row to finish the season, including five to ranked opponents. After an eight-point loss, they were defeated four consecutive times by at least 18 points.
Arizona State didn’t have a strong finish to their season either. They were blown out in the Pac-12 title game by Stanford 38-14, suffering their worst defeat in three years. Before that contest, though, the Sun Devils were one of the hottest teams in the country. They had won seven consecutive games, including wins over ranked Washington and UCLA. In non-conference play, they beat then-No.20 Wisconsin, and their only losses in 2013 came to Stanford and Notre Dame.
Not only did Texas Tech finish the season poorly, but they won’t have the Big 12 offensive freshman of the year. Quarterback Baker Mayfield won’t play after deciding to transfer. Davis Webb and Michael Brewer are both likely to play in his absence. Brewer battled injuries for most of the year, while Webb threw for 16 scores and nine interceptions.
The Red Raiders were awful defensively during their losing streak, allowing 504.6 yards per game. However, their passing attack in the beginning of the year is what helped them win so many games. They are second in the country with 392 yards through the air per game. However, they might not have the same success without Mayfield. The team’s losing streak began when the quarterback was out with an injury.
If they can contain the Texas Tech passing attack, Arizona State could be in for an easy victory. Their 41 points per game is good for ninth-best in the country. Running back Marion Grice will look to add to his 996 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns this season. He’s averaging 5.2 yards per carry.
Player To Watch: Davis Webb
Time: 10:15 p.m. Monday
Place: Qualcomm Stadium
Online Stream: WatchESPN
Betting Odds: Arizona Sate by 16
Prediction: Arizona State over Texas Tech, 50-33