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10 Point Preview: The 2014 Hyundai Sun Bowl

The #15 Arizona State Sun Devils (9-3) meet the unranked Duke Blue Devils (9-3) about half way in El Paso: The Least Hipster City In America to compete for the title of Sun Bowl Champion... whatever that means.

The midfield logo from the 2013 Hyundai Sun Bowl
The midfield logo from the 2013 Hyundai Sun Bowl
Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Fellow colleague Jack Follman hit the nail on the head: "The Sun Bowl always seems to end up with a Pac-12 team that doesn't want to be there and a Sun Devil team that had a shot at the Playoff with just a few games left in the season fits that bill." To make matters worse, this is a football team that refuses to get off the bus for games they believe to be beneath them (ex. our 2014 trip to Corvallis or the 2013 Holiday Bowl). So is there a chance a Duke team from an extremely weak ACC conference meets us at the border and sends us home with our tail between our legs? Hey, it could happen.

  • Berco or TK? From the mouth of Todd Graham (with a stop @DougHaller then) to your laptop, Taylor Kelly will start his final game in a Sun Devil uniform. Before you grab your pitchfork and torch to join the angry villagers in an old-timey Frankenstein mob, remember folks; ASU football would not be where it is now, without Taylor Kelly. As unpleasant as it sounds, it's the truth. The man has earned the right to start his final game, whether he is the best quarterback for the job or not... especially when it's only for pride and dollar bills.
  • In regard to historic implications, this will be the first time the Devils will meet in the history of both football programs. On the Sun Devil side, this will be Jaelen (Too) Strong's last game in maroon and gold... or in anthracite and whatever. Our top wide receiver is a projected first-second round pick come next May. Also, keep in mind this could be a farewell tour for DJ Foster and Mike Bercovici as well. Foster is eligible for the draft and Berco is a graduate student who could transfer unabated, but either one actually happening is extremely unlikely.
  • Speaking of final games, QB Anthony Boone will be having his own farewell tour under center for the Blue Devils. Quarterback whisperer David Cutcliffe has raised his redshirt senior's play to a new level this season, hitting career highs in completions, passing touchdowns, and yards. Unlike Cutcliffe's past projects (the Manning brothers, maybe you've heard of them?), Boone is a dual threat and is showing it as of late. Over there past three games, the North Carolina native has carried the football 39 times. Don't expect them to buck that trend come Saturday.
  • We are more alike, my friends, than unalike. In pseudo-chronological order, the Devils (Blue or Sun) lost in their 2013 conference title game, finished 10-4 last year, got bounced in the first round of March Madness, lost to our bitter in-state rivals, finished 9-3 this year, and have a semi-famous porn star as a member of their student body. One of these things is not like the others.
  • We all know #TooStrong, but Jamison Crowder could steal the spotlight on Saturday. The 5'9" speedster has lead Duke in receiving for the past three years and has racked up 27 touchdowns in a Blue Devils uniform. With comparisons to Antonio Brown, the Devils could have a matching pair of receiver draftees come next spring.
  • Defensively, Damarious Randall was the only Sun Devil who could muster 100 tackles through the regular season, while the Blue Devils have a three-headed tackling monster. Middle linebacker David Helton, Rover saftey DeVon Edwards, and Strike safety Jeremy Cash (who will be the first overall pick of the Money Team) all broke the century mark in 2014. The trio will be all over the field on Saturday, especially Ca$h who's second in interceptions and leads the team in sacks, tackles for a loss and forced fumbles. Did I mention he's a safety?
  • Opponent Fun Fact"Established in 1966, the Lemur Center is the world's largest sanctuary for rare and endangered prosimian primates." A party school versus a party animal school; put that on a t-shirt Hyundai.
  • Welcome Coach Snoop and goodbye Nike. Dominating headlines and Twitter for the past week was Arizona State's switch to Adidas, announced by Snoop Dogg and an Adidas x Arizona State prototype football jersey, meaning the Sun Bowl will be Nike's last hurrah with the Sun Devil football team. "BUT NIKE'S THE COOLEST! HAVE YOU SEEN THESE PANTS? WHY?!?" Let's all remember that at one point Nike made us wear these and helped contribute to the death of dear ol' Helmet Sparky. The God of Victory wasn't always good to us people. Give Adidas and their dump truck full of money a chance.
  • For music lovers, Hyundai has courteously booked Lonestar as the 2014 Sun Bowl Halftime Show. You know Lonestar? The country band that's existed longer than most college students have been alive? Yeah, me neither. Apparently, Rihanna was booked? I can't imagine why she wouldn't wanna do that gig again...
  • Last, but not least, I'd like to take this last point to thank you guys for sticking around and reading my mindless ramblings all year long. Whether it's just a page view, comment, or (the reigning personal favorite) angry tweet, I really appreciate every bit of feedback you guys give me. Finally, just because football is over doesn't mean I'm gone for the year. Keep checking back for my random updates on ASU sports and other great PAC-12 articles from all of my fellow contributors. Have a happy holiday everybody and until next time, go (Sun) Devils!