Hey...remember when Boise State got snubbed by the BCS again? Seems like only yesterday. Well, being relegated to a second tier bowl against a Pac 12 also-ran could've been worse, I suppose...and I've put on my thinking cap to find some reasons to actually get up for this one. It's not like anything else is happening in late December anyway, right?
Five reasons the Las Vegas Bowl will be better than you think
1) Dennis Erickson
Sure, Boise State-Arizona State isn't a classic rivalry, but Bronco fans have loved to hate former Vandal headman Dennis Erickson for years. Since Erickson got canned by ASU last month, this will be his final game with the Sun Devils and the last chance for Broncos to revel in his defeat. Plus, with Erickson on the sidelines there are opportunities for some fun sidebets...like the over/under on Erickson's blood alcohol level.
The Sugar Bowl would've been a nice destination for the Broncos, but a trip to New Orleans so close to Christmas might've meant a few less presents under the tree (goodbye, Skyrim). Vegas is much closer and still affords the same levels of debauchery that New Orleans provides. So you're trading gumbo for seafood buffets...big deal. Remember—what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so no one will tell if you hit a Celine Dion show after the game (although you'll still have to live with yourself).
ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been described as "a little bit insane"—and that was by his own mom. The talented MLB is a loose cannon however you slice it and it will be interesting to see how long he lasts before getting a personal foul in the game. If he gets to Kellen Moore it could get ugly, but good luck with that. I'm calling it: in the 3rd quarter, Doug Martin meets Burfict on the goal line and nothing is left but a smoking crater. Burfection.
Arizona State is a dangerous squad that, depending on which team shows up, could give the Broncos a real test. They put a beating on USC, who later went on to knock off #4 Oregon and they could've easily won their final four games of the year—but, well...didn't. The fact that Arizona State could beat the Broncos at least gives the game more viewing interest than playing the likes of New Mexico or Colorado State.
5) Last hurrah
Coach Pete tends to call off the dogs quite a bit during the regular season, ensuring that the underclassmen get some playing time and the scores don't get out of hand. Given that this is the last game of the season and the last game of many Bronco careers means that Pete might throw caution to the wind and keep the throttle, and the playbook wide open through 4 quarters. Either that, or Pete will want to get a sneak preview of the great QB race of 2012 and give Kellen Moore his curtain call at halftime.
So who needs the AllState Sugar Bowl, right? We can still get hyped about playing a .500 squad. I hear their QB is 7 feet tall! Is there anything else that lends a bit of credibility and drama to the December 22nd matchup? Let us know what you think in the comments section.