CFB Picks 12/31: Sun Bowl
The Sun Bowl features a team from the Sunshine State and the Sun Devils from Arizona.
Florida State is hoping to get back to winning ways and finish over .500 with a bowl win for the first time since 2017.
Arizona State is looking for their first bowl win since 2015 and trying to avoid a third consecutive 7-6 finish to the season.
- Seven of Arizona State’s last eight day games against non-AP-ranked teams have gone OVER the total points line.
- Florida State has a 3-6-1 ATS record as an away team in day games since 2016.
- The Seminoles have a 4-12 W/L record as underdogs since 2016. (Stats courtesy of Statschecker).
Arizona State (7-5) had a rollercoaster season with some bad losses and improbable wins.
The Sun Devils defeated three of four ranked opponents, including a 31-28 College Football Playoff spoiling win over #6 Oregon in the second-to-last game of the season. The other two victories were against #15 California and #10 Michigan State.
Freshman dual threat quarterback Jayden Daniels had a solid season, throwing for 2,748 yards, 17 touchdowns and only two interceptions, adding 319 rushing yards and three rushing scores.
The Sun Devils had both a 1,000-yard rusher and receiver in junior Eno Benjamin and senior Brandon Aiyuk.
Benjamin totaled over 1,000 yards rushing for the second consecutive season, totaling 1,083 yards with 10 rushing touchdowns. Aiyuk had a breakout season, totaling 1,192 yards which ranks 11th best in the nation with eight touchdowns.
Florida State (6-6) struggled to gain any momentum this season which resulted in the firing of head coach Willie Taggart after nine games into his second season with the Seminoles.
Florida State lost all three games against ranked opponents this season by an average of 20.3 ppg.
Sophomore quarterback James Blackman split time as a starter this season but managed to put together a respectable season, throwing for 2,095 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
The Seminoles also finished the regular season with both a 1,000-yard rusher and receiver.
Junior running back Cam Akers rushed for 1,000 yards for the second time in his career, totaling 1,144 yards with 14 rushing touchdowns, adding 225 receiving touchdowns and four reception touchdowns.
Sophomore wide receiver Tamorrion Terry was the team-leading receiver by nearly 700 yards, totaling 1,023 receiving yards with eight touchdowns.
My pick is Arizona State to cover the spread (-3.5) and the OVER Total of 54 points.
Both these teams have explosive offenses that lack consistency at times.
However, my advantage is going to Arizona State based on what they’ve been capable of doing against ranked opponents.
All three of the Sun Devils’ biggest offensive playmakers (Daniels, Benjamin and Aiyuk) had their biggest games of the season on the team’s biggest stage against #6 Oregon.
Daniels threw for over 400 yards and three touchdowns, Benjamin rushed 31 times for 114 yards and Aiyuk caught seven passes for 161 yards and one touchdown.
If Arizona State can get anywhere close to that effort against Florida State in the bowl game, my expectation is the Sun Devils will be too much for the Seminoles to handle.
Final score prediction: Arizona State Wins 34-24