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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

December 22, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Pac-12 bowl picks: Boise State-Arizona State

The first Pac-12 bowl game is tonight — Arizona State (6-6) against Boise State (11-1) in the Las Vegas bowl.

ASU is a 14-point underdog, and if I’m not mistaken, there’s no bigger one this bowl season.

It’s Kellen Moore’s swan song for Boise State, a chance to get a 50th victory as a starting collegiate quarterback. I saw the piece the Times ran from Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman this morning, quoting ESPN’s Chris Fowler that he doesn’t think anybody will be breaking Moore’s record, and that’s a pretty safe assumption. If you play 12 games, get to a conference-title game every year and win four bowl games, that’s 56. And imagine how difficult that is to accomplish.

Like a lot of bowl games, this one will have a lot to do with mental attitude. I could see Arizona State stepping up and feeling it has a lot to prove (and it does, having given up 144 points in a four-game losing streak). But I don’t see Boise State coming in fat-headed, either, because playing a Pac-12 school is a marquee game for the Broncos.

It’s not only the last game for Moore, it’s Dennis Erickson’s last at ASU — and it could be his last game as a head coach, though somehow I’m doubting that.

The status of linebacker Vontaze Burfict will also be worth watching. He was benched briefly in the Cal game Nov. 25, and it’s pretty clear there are some issues between him and the coaches. Without naming names, Arizona State safety Eddie Elder referred to “cancers” on the team on the SunDevils.com website.

For the record, Moore has thrown for 140 career touchdowns with 26 interceptions. The ASU passing game may be a challenge for the Broncos, but they hold opponents to 315.6 yards per game, 15th in the country. I don’t see this being very close. Pick: Boise State, 42-24.

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