Hard to outscore an opponent 48-14 and lose but that’s what happened to Arizona State Saturday afternoon. ASU might have lost $1 million dollars on Saturday despite playing one of their most complete games of the season.
Keep in mind, the Devils lost nothing on the field. The amazing run of turnovers is still alive. Osweiler was nearly perfect with his decision making. No one got hurt long-term (DB-Carr might have suffered a concussion). Cameron Marshall looked wonderful returning from the ankle sprain. The defense gave up only one touchdown despite playing plenty of reserves.
Even more amazing was the simplicity of the offense. From the sidelines, it appeared ASU only ran about 10 to 14 plays. There was a strong focus on executing a small game plan. That focus was successful.
Colorado came into the game leading the Pac-12 in most last-place statistics. Only three defenses in the country have given up more points per game than Colorado. ASU might have made that stat worse by scoring 13 more points than the Buffs defense averages giving up in a game.
So many things went right for ASU Saturday night. The Devils did everything they could to impress the high number of bowl representatives in attendance. The team succeeded in every way. It’s too bad the bowl representatives left unimpressed.
The Rose Bowl came to see the passion of ASU fans and saw empty seats as far as the eye could see. The Fiesta Bowl came to see if ASU fans could bring the noise in a mid-afternoon setting and left with only cell phones ringing in their ears. The Alamo Bowl came to see if the higher ante they paid to host a higher quality Pac-12 team was worth it and left praying Stanford doesn’t compete for a national championship.
If the choice of “Sans” is given to most Americans, it’s safely assumed most would choose the “Diego” option over the “Antonio” option. In the Pac-12, a December trip to San Antonio is much better than one to San Diego. There are a million reasons why. The Alamo Bowl pay-out to each team is around $3.2 million. Holiday Bowl is now the third-tier bowl in the Pac-12 paying about $2.1 million.
ASU could win the first ever Pac-12 Championship game and go to the Rose Bowl. There would be no board room in on the decision. Unfortunately, there’s a litany of other scenarios that could play out that places ASU’s bowl hopes into the hands of men in suits. The irony is the game that made ASU bowl eligible is also the game that could push ASU into a lower-tier bowl.
If ASU loses the Pac-12 Championship game, they have the possibility of going to the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, Alamo or Holiday. There’s very little chance ASU would drop below the Holiday Bowl.
To determine where ASU will go you must know the two biggest concerns of a bowl game are selling tickets and TV ratings. Any bowl making a decision on whether or not ASU is a prime team for their bowl quickly realized there are plenty of better options. Judging by the support from Saturday’s game, ASU does not fit the category of driving ratings or a passionate fan base.
If Stanford wins out, they could earn a top two spot in the BCS and go to New Orleans for the championship. The Rose Bowl would then choose between Oregon’s fan base that sell-out every game — and get LaMichael James to attract attention — or ASU who has 20,000 empty seats for homecoming.
A Stanford win in the Pac-12 Championship that does not lead to a BCS Championship game invite could happen. If Oklahoma State wins out, the expectations would be they play Alabama or LSU for the BCS Championship. It’s also impossible to predict how the computers and coaches will react to Boise State’s ever decreasing strength-of-schedule. Stanford would pack its bags for Pasadena.
The Alamo Bowl would then have the same options (UO or ASU) explained above. The higher paying game would choose Oregon and ASU would drop to the Holiday Bowl. There is a wild card here. The Fiesta Bowl will have one of the two Oklahoma schools but the wild card is the at-large selection. Is the Fiesta tired of Boise? Would they consider Oregon and help elevate ASU to the Alamo? Although hotel sales and local tax revenue from travelers would take a hit, the Fiesta could dramatically improve their local standing after the scandal by choosing ASU.
The most plausible scenario sets up a board meeting with an impossible to predict answer. If Oregon beats Stanford in the regular season, the Pac-12 Championship game would be in Eugene and Oregon would beat ASU. Oregon has no chance to play for the BCS Championship so it would be the Ducks in Pasadena.
I have no idea what the Alamo bowl would choose after ASU fans let down their school. Stanford is one of the few schools in the Pac-12 with worse fan support than ASU so the Devils would have the advantage. However, Stanford has the number one pick in the NFL draft which would bring big ratings. Advantage: Stanford.
ASU’s administration has added a huge new tailgate area. The football team plays exciting defense and a fast-paced offense. Unfortunately, the ASU fans still haven’t noticed. At some point ASU fans will realize that bowl committee’s visit campus to look at your resume compared to other schools’ bowl resume.
Fans have no problem attacking coaches or players when they feel let down after buying a ticket. It’s too bad the coaches and players can’t call talk shows and write blogs to attack fans for letting them down by not buying a ticket.