You know you've been waiting all bowl season for it, and the time has finally arrived. Yes, folks, the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl is upon us, and it's going to be grrrreat! It's fitting that a coach with a personality the likes of Herm Edwards will be involved in the action on Tuesday, but on a more serious note, it should also be pointed out that the Sun Bowl has been very kind to Pac-12 teams with the conference representative winning six of its eight appearances this decade.
That seems like good news for Arizona State as it takes on Florida State in the latest edition of the game, but the Sun Devils will be without some key offensive pieces who are preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft. The Noles missed out on a bowl game last year and enter Tuesday's game with an interim coach as new coach Mike Norvell watches from afar and evaluates his team. Here's how to watch the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl and the storylines to follow.
Florida State: Another disappointing season for the Seminoles cost coach Willie Taggart his job. Better days are ahead, the program hopes, under Norvell. But for now, this is about capping off the season on a high note and trying to avoid the first back-to-back losing seasons since 1975-76. However, Florida State will be without its best offensive player. Star running back Cam Akers has declared for the NFL Draft and is skipping the game to concentrate on his future. That means more pressure on quarterback James Blackman. The good news for the Noles is you can move the ball through the air on Arizona State. But with no Akers and a much stronger defensive front from ASU, Blackman may have to win this thing through the air.
Arizona State: Say this for Edwards: He may not win every game, but he rarely loses badly. Only once in Edwards' two seasons in Tempe, Arizona, has his team truly been outclassed. That came earlier this season in a 21-3 loss to Utah. Otherwise, the Sun Devils are nothing if not competitive. But what will this team look like without leading running back Eno Benjamin and receiver Brandon Aiyuk? Like Akers, both are skipping this game to concentrate on draft preparation. You can't blame them, but the Sun Devils need to find answers around stud quarterback Jayden Daniels.
Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl prediction, picks
Florida State has won eight of its last 10 bowl games, including its last two. Does that streak continue against Arizona State? Both teams have key absences to work around on offense, so don't be surprised if this game ends up being on the lower-scoring side. Blackman has the passing chops to keep Florida State in this one and maybe spring the upset. And given Arizona State's more conservative style of play, I'm going with the Seminoles to cover the small spread. Pick: Florida State +4.5
Who will win Florida State vs. Arizona State, and what critical x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread you should back, all from the seasoned expert who has hit on 13 of his last 16 picks involving the Seminoles.