Arizona State: Are They Destined for the Valero Alamo Bowl?

Vance PennCorrespondent IOctober 25, 2011

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 24:   Vontaze Burfict #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils points and yells at quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the University of Southern California Trojans just prior to a play at Sun Devil Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

Coming off a bye week the Arizona State Sun Devils get back to action after a disappointing 41-27 Week 7 loss to the Oregon Ducks.

While definitely in the driver's seat with a head-to-head win over Southern Division foe USC, there is nothing but speed bumps the rest of the way for the Sun Devils. At 5-2, Arizona State will meet Colorado, UCLA and Arizona, a combined 6-16, to finish out the Southern Division portion of the Pac-12 schedule. While their records aren't impressive, there is the ever present danger of a surprise loss if the Sun Devils don't stay on task.

Arizona proved in Week 7 they have the ability to put up big numbers and surprise a better team. Aside from that in-state trap game, the path to the Pac-12 Championship game should be clear for the Sun Devils. Provided they continue to take care of business, a 10-2 Arizona State will earn a trip to the Pac 12 Championship game, likely against Stanford.

Should Arizona State lose to the Cardinal, the Sun Devils will definitely be out of the National Championship hunt and, at 10-3, almost assuredly out of the running for a BCS bowl berth. As the number two finisher in the Pac-12, they will pack their bags for a late-December trip to San Antonio, TX. In the Valero Alamo Bowl, which kicks off on December 29 in the Alamobowl, ASU will face either the number two or number three Big 12 finisher.

At this point in time the Big 12 standings are muddled at the top. Both Kansas State and Oklahoma State are still undefeated and have National Championship aspirations, while one-loss Oklahoma still dreams of a BCS berth. All three teams still have yet to play each other and the Big 12 representative won't be decided until, literally, the last week of the season.