WHO: Arizona State (7-5) vs. Florida State (6-6)
WHAT: The 86th Sun Bowl
WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. ET on CBS
WHERE: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, Texas
BUY TICKETS: Click Here
THE SKINNY: This one is going to be… grrrrrrreat? Ok, maybe the new Sun Bowl sponsor has you thinking that but the latest edition of the venerable game out in West Texas will be a compelling Pac-12/ACC matchup but in truth, NFL Draft departures have taken some of the interest out of this one.
You can start with star FSU tailback Cam Akers, who has been the focal point of the team’s offense since arriving on campus. His absence (along with every other scholarship running back) likely means even more will be placed on the shoulders of quarterback James Blackman as we could see the ‘Noles go full Air Raid as a result.
The Sun Devils are not immune from the draft departures either as two of their best players, RB Eno Benjamin and WR Brandon Aiyuk, will be skipping the festivities. The veterans are not only fantastic players capable of taking it to the house on every touch but have been great in helping along freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels. The latter will now be the even more of the show on offense but that’s not a bad thing for either watching this game nor ASU’s budding future.
All of which should make for one of those strangely entertaining games between two somewhat evenly matched teams, talent-wise. Florida State fans fired up about the future under Mike Norvell will definitely be interested to see how hard guys play as they try to impress the incoming staff while Herm Edwards would love to hit eight wins and build further momentum heading into 2020. The Sun Devils are a little closer to full strength and get the added benefit of not having quite as much staff upheaval (though there has been plenty of that), so they get the slight edge coming into this one.
THE PICK: Arizona State 23, Florida State 13