Florida State vs. Arizona State: Tony The Tiger Bowl fearless prediction and game preview.
Florida State vs. Arizona State: Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl Broadcast
Florida State (6-6) vs. Arizona State (7-5) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl
– This is about as 2019 as a bowl game can get, and it just so happens to be rolling on the last day of the year. Florida State is here because its head coach isn’t. Mike Norvell is still picking out the furniture in his new office, whole interim man Odell Haggins will try to help the program avoid back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1975-1976.
Meanwhile, top FSU RB Cam Akers is sitting out to get ready for the NFL, ASU star RB Eno Benjamin is skipping his senior year after graduating – he’s already been welcomed into the Rosenhaus Sports Family – and top Sun Devil WR Brandon Aiyuk is skipping the bowl.
And it’s named the Tony the Tiger Bowl.
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– The Pac-12 has absolutely owned this thing over the ACC in recent years. NC State beat Arizona State 52-31 in the 2017 version, but that’s the lone blip in a 5-1 run for the Pac-12 over the last six.
Head coach Herm Edwards lost the 2018 Las Vegas to Boise State. ASU comes into this on a three-game bowl losing streak and with a 2-7 record since winning the 2005 Insight over Rutgers.
Florida State is in a bowl again after missing out on a swag bag for the first time since 1981. 8-2 in its last ten bowls – only losing to Tom Herman’s Houston team in the 2015 Peach, and in the first ever College Football Playoff game to Oregon in the 2015 Rose – this has been one of the best bowl programs for decades going 25-9-1 after dropping the epic 1981 Orange to Oklahoma.
– A win would make Florida State’s season. It’s been a disappointment from the start, ditching Taggart isn’t what everyone had in mind, and it’s been ugly at times. One win would help change the narrative. On the flip side, Arizona State made its season by keeping Oregon out of the College Football Playoff with a thrilling win, and then took things a step further with a win over rival Arizona.
Why Florida State Will Win
– This needs to be the James Blackman show. Again, Cam Akers is preparing for the NFL, and backup QB and former Wisconsin Badger Alex Hornibrook decided he’s done with this whole college football thing. When Blackman is on and the passing game is going, FSU is terrific.
A great performance by the QB doesn’t guarantee anything – FSU lost to Boise State and Wake Forest when Blackman was good – but if he’s off, forget about it. The ASU secondary that’s 114th in the nation in pass D can be beaten up, allowing 200 yards or more in each of its last four games and in every game but four.
– The loss of Eno Benjamin is a huge deal for the Sun Devils. Arizona State was able to win a few early games when the offense wasn’t working, but the team is 0-5 over the last ten games when running for fewer than 130 yards. This wasn’t a killer ground attack with Benjamin, and now this puts more pressure on Jayden Daniels to bomb away. That also means …
– The FSU pass rush needs to show up large. It’s there, but it hasn’t always been consistent. Arizona State’s offensive line is way too leaky – it’s among the worst in the nation in sacks allowed – and the Seminole D needs to get to Daniels right away. FSU has just 29 sacks on the year, with 19 of them coming in three games. Don’t get to Daniel and there’s a huge problem because …
Why Arizona State Will Win
– This isn’t the Florida State secondary you’re used to. It’s got talent, but star safety Hamsah Nasirildeen suffered a bad leg injury against Florida – this group can’t afford to be without any of its key parts. The Noles allowed 270 yards or more in eight games and failed to generate a pick in six games. The Sun Devils might be without Brandon Ayuk, but …
– It’s Jayden Daniels time. The world saw his potential with a brilliant 408-yard day against Oregon, and he needs to hang 300 to make up for the lack of anything on the ground. Sort of like Florida State’s situation with James Blackman, a big passing day doesn’t guarantee anything, but struggle, and it’s going to be a painful offensive day.
– For two teams that struggle a bit too much, mistakes mean everything. Arizona State is 4-0 when it doesn’t turn the ball over. That’s not the case with FSU – turnover margin doesn’t seem to be that massive a deal, considering there are several other problems to worry about.
However, the FSU D has only taken the ball away once against FBS teams since the October 12th loss to Clemson. This group doesn’t force errors, and worse yet, the team has a massive penalty issue. The Noles have been flagged 111 times on the year with ten or more in four of their last five games and eight times overall. If ASU wins the overall mistake battle, it’ll have this.