Steer On The Holiday Menu

By Adam Caparell - December 27, 2007


You don't normally get a BCS caliber game two days after Christmas - not when you have 32 bowl games to play with - but that's basically what we have on our hands Thursday evening in San Diego with the Holiday Bowl.

Spurned by the BCS, Arizona State takes on a disappointing Texas team that was expected to compete with Oklahoma for the Big 12 South crown. Instead, the Longhorns limped to the finish line thanks to inconsistent play and a soft defense.

"Unlike Arizona State, we did not end our season like we wanted to," Texas coach Mack Brown said Wednesday. "It was not up to our standards. We spent a whole month trying to get back on track again. We may play really well and not win, but the guys have done everything we've asked them to do out here."

Brown revamped the Longhorns practices during the month leadup to the game, but will it make a difference?

The Sun Devils feature a potent offense backed by Rudy Carpenter at quarterback. As long as his front five can keep him from getting clobbered by the Texas front seven, Carpenter should be capable of putting up some points against the Texas pass defense that allowed 275 yards per game - good for 109th in the country.

And even if the Sun Devils find themselves trailing heading into halftime, as was the case many times this season, Arizona State - behind first year head coach Dennis Erickson - showed it was the best team in the country at making adjustments as evidenced by their numerous second half comebacks.

So will the Longhorns be ready for Erickson's crew? Brown believes so. We know the fans certainly won't be considering only half of the 11,000 tickets Texas was allotted for the bowl game were sold.

But Texas has been here before. This is the fourth time under Brown Texas has played in the Holiday Bowl and there are those who believe he is truly only a Holiday Bowl type of coach until the next Vince Young comes along.

And that, Texas fans can be certain, is not happening anytime soon.

The Line: -2.5 Texas
O/U: 62

If I Were A Betting Man: Arizona State and the under. Texas should not be the favorite in this one, but you know why: tradition. It's more or less their name carrying the line than it is based on who the better team is. Arizona State has showed its the better squad, seriously competing for a Rose Bowl berth in the second best conference in the country - the Pac-10 - and losing to Oregon (with a healthy Dennis Dixon) and the good version of USC in the process for its only two losses. Carpenter can really take advantage of the Texas defense, provided he doesn't get decapitated.

Bowl Season: 0-7 ATS | 5-2 O/U

Posted by Adam Caparell at 12:46 PM on December 27, 2007
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