One of the more recognizable bowls, the Sun Bowl, takes its familiar spot on Saturday afternoon on CBS. ESPN bought the rights to the majority of bowls, but FOX has a couple and CBS gets the Sun Bowl. In the 2017 edition of the Sun Bowl, the NC State Wolfpack and Arizona State Sun Devils. Arizona State didn’t have to travel too far to get to the Sun Bowl.
The Sun Devils concluded their regular season with a nice win over rival Arizona, 42-30. It wasn’t enough for Todd Graham to keep his job, though. At 7-5, that simply isn’t good enough despite closing the regular season out on a high note. Graham will coach the Sun Bowl, though. Coaches are usually out of there on the next flight when they get hired, but Graham will get one last curtain call at Arizona State.
The Sun Devils hired Herm Edwards to steer the ship in the future. Edwards is known for his tenure with the New York Jets. “You play to win the game..”. It’s a bit of a leftfield hire. I don’t think anyone predicted Edwards going back into coaching. The last time Edwards was a head coach was back in 2008 with the Kansas City Chiefs.
He is far more of a hardnosed coach than Graham, and should instill a philosophy centered around defensive football. The quick pace offensive scheme we see now, will probably be gone. Edwards prefers to play physical instead of finesse football. Is this marriage going to work? I have to think no, Edwards will ultimately be shown the door. There will have to be patience in Tempe.
NC State were regarded as sleepers heading into 2017 and came up short in making a significant impact, but finished the regular season with a respectable record of 8-4 and nearly upset the Clemson Tigers. They fell to Clemson 38-31 but gave them a good run for their money. NC State did have a 21-14 lead at one point, but they couldn’t hold off the Tigers. A loss there would have resulted in two losses, and undoubtedly push them out of the playoff. Let’s get to our free NC State vs. Arizona State pick in the Sun Bowl below.
NC State Wolfpack vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Betting Odds:
NC State -6.5(-110)
vs. Arizona State +6.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
NC State vs. Arizona State Pick:
NC State pride themselves on playing physical football in the trenches. The Wolfpack are led by the ultra-talented Bradley Chubb. Everyone knows who Nick Chubb is at Georgia, but cousin Bradley isn’t getting the same amount of attention. NFL scouts are paying attention to Bradley Chubb, though, and that’s all that matters. He led the ACC with 10 sacks and 25 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Watch for him to go in the first-round of the draft in April. It looks like he may sit this one out due to an injury, though.
The defense allowed 24.8 points per game for 49th in the nation. That doesn’t sound so great, but they had to play some really good offenses this season. Arizona State allowed 31.1 points per game, 88th in the FBS. They are still bad against the pass, but have improved from last season. They couldn’t have gotten much worse. Arizona State are 118th against the pass, allowing 268.1 yards per game.
Ryan Finley has been a steady option for the Wolfpack at quarterback. He enters the Sun Bowl throwing for 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Finley has also rushed for an additional 3 touchdowns on the ground. He is coming off a rough outing against North Carolina, where he tossed an interception with no touchdowns. NC State like to establish their offense on the ground with Nyheim Hines who has rushed for 1,040 yards and 10 touchdowns. NC State have an offensive line who can bully their opponents around and will look to do it against the Sun Devils on Saturday.
The Arizona State offense was on fire to end the season. They averaged 40 points per game across their final four games of the year. However, they did beat up on some bad defenses, which included Colorado, UCLA, Oregon State, and Arizona. Manny Wilkins is one of the more hot and cold quarterbacks in the country. He did produce some nice numbers, though, with 17 passing touchdowns and 5 interceptions.
Wilkins also rushed for 269 yards and 6 touchdowns. He and the Arizona State offense just wish there was no break between the regular season and the bowl game. I think after some time to process everything going on with their coaching situation, they’re going to cool off considerably against an aggressive NC State defence. Look for their offense to look much different than we seen to end the year. I can’t see it being a blowout, but the Wolfpack should pull away to win and pick up the cover.
PICK: NC STATE -6.5 (-110)