Arizona State looked good entering Monday night's Holiday Bowl, but then they teed it up and Texas Tech ran all over the Sun Devils, 37-23, in what UT San Diego columnist Nick Canepa called "one of the least memorable Holidays."
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A bizarre ending at Tempe, as Wisconsin is unable to spike the ball and stop the clock, which would have enabled the Badgers to try a game-winning field goal. The clock runs out, the Pacific 12 officiating crew runs off the field and Arizona State wins, 32-30.
Below is an image from Chris Kalohn, which appears to show Wisky QB Joel Stave with his knee on the ground. (Click the image to enlarge.) One thing is clear: Listen for the whistle immediately after Stave put the ball down. That signals the play is over. Just saying, folks. I think the discussion starts from that point.
But again, the knee isn't as important as the whistle, which signals the play dead. The umpire was slow to spot the ball after the Arizona State players piled on it. The umpire is in a tough spot. He likely didn't see Stave's knee touch and was slow to react after the Sun Devils jumped on the ball. But every official is part of a team and the referee, who likely blew the whistle, could have stepped in.
Remember, officials make errors like the rest of us. Yes, it's a tough loss for Wisconsin and Badger fans are angry, but imagine how the officials must feel.
First the big news: Todd Graham is back for his second season at Arizona State. OK, there was never any doubt unless you take into account that Graham is college football's equivalent to basketball's Larry Brown. When Graham became Sun Devil coach, it was his fourth Division I-A head coaching gig in seven years. He always has an eye on the next, big thing.
Graham has been a winner at every stop and Tempe is no exception. Arizona State finished 8-5 in his first season and there's a definite uptick in the program. Can the Sun Devils win the Pacific 12 South? Absolutely. But let's revisit this after five games. Arizona State has a cushy opener against Sacramento State, then plays Wisconsin, at Stanford, USC and Notre Dame (at Arlington, Texas). That's a brutal start.
And if the football team doesn't win, there's always Mill Avenue.
Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore deserved a grander stage to close out his career, but in the era of the Bowl Championship Series, the best the one-loss Broncos could do was a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl for the second year in a row.
Boise State made the most of it by crushing Arizona State, 56-24, in the final game for Sun Devil coach Dennis Erickson.