MAACO Bowl: Everything You Need to Know

Jeff ChaseSenior Analyst IIDecember 8, 2011

BOISE, ID - DECEMBER 03: Shea McClellin #92 of the Boise State Broncos reacts after a play against the New Mexico Lobos at Bronco Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

The Boise State Broncos, who recently moved to the Big East, and the Arizona State Sun Devils of the Pac-12 will be pitted against one another in the MAACO Bowl this bowl season.

The Broncos and Sun Devils didn't play each other this season. There isn't any conflict or history between the two teams, but this game has a lot riding for both programs. The Sun Devils recently fired their head coach, Dennis Erickson, while the Broncos will be proving to the country why they deserved to be in a BCS bowl game.


Where: Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, NV

When: Thursday, December 22nd at 8 PM EDT

Watch: ESPN and ESPN 3

Listen: 670 AM - Boise State, 620 AM - Arizona State

Betting Line: N/A

Key Storyline

The Broncos were hoping to make an at-large bowl game this year after going 11-1 with senior quarterback Kellen Moore, but unfortunately for them their sole loss to the TCU Horned Frogs kept them out of contention. This won't be the first time Chris Petersen and the Broncos have been to Vegas, as they won the title back in 2010.

Once again, they will be looking to stick it to the BCS—only this time by giving the Sun Devils a run for their money.The Sun Devils, on the other hand, are coming off a season that can only be described as an epic collapse. The Sun Devils started out the year 5-1, but they couldn't keep it together which resulted in a final record of 6-6.

This fallout has resulted in the firing of head coach Dennis Erickson, and now the Sun Devils are in a bit of a identity crisis.


ASU Player To Watch: Quarterback Brock Osweiler

If the Sun Devils are going to have any chance at winning this game, they are going to need to let their 6'8" quarterback do the talking. Osweiler has been solid in his first year as a starter, and while the running game and defense has faltered, he has stayed relatively consistent.Osweiler has thrown for 3,641 yards with 24 touchdowns this season. He is still coming into his own, and he may take this opportunity on the big stage to show off what hes got. The Broncos are only allowing 18.7 PPG, but perhaps this high-powered Sun Devils offense will get going and make this game into a shootout.


Boise State Player to Watch: Quarterback Kellen Moore

This game will be all about the quarterbacks. This is going to be Moore's final game as a Bronco, and there is no doubt that he is going to want to go out in style. Moore has gone off this season, throwing for 3,507 yards with 41 touchdowns. At the rate the Sun Devils' secondary have been playing, he could make much more of those numbers.

The question isn't if Moore can play well, the question is what defense will show up for ASU. To begin the year, they were a turnover machine while only allowing nine passing touchdowns in eight games. Through their last four, they have have matched that number.

If things stay like they are, Moore could be having a field day.


ASU's Biggest Question: Will Middle Linebacker Vontaze Burfict Play?

In the Sun Devils' last game of the regular season against the Cal Golden Bears, Erickson sat his best defensive player. Burfict has been bad this season. His numbers are down and his penalties are through the roof.

Clearly, things between him and his coach are off, too. If the Sun Devils' last game of the season was an indication of anything, Burfict may not be seeing the field a whole lot in their bowl game.


Boise State's Biggest Question: Will They Prove They Are Elite?

The Broncos have proven time and time again that they are a great team. The only thing is they have continued to play in the Mountain West Conference, which continues to give them a weak schedule with excellent results.

While the Sun Devils have been on a downward spiral following their Week 6 loss to the Oregon Ducks, there is no doubt that this team has the talent to make things happen.

The Broncos were upstaged by the Horned Frogs earlier this year, so there lies a possibility that this game isn't already wrapped up.


Prediction: Boise State 35, ASU 27