December 22, 2011 in Sports

Bowl opponents Boise State, Arizona State in transition

Oskar Garcia Associated Press

Tonight’s MAACO Bowl

Boise St. vs. Arizona St.

Records: BSU (11-1), ASU (6-6)

Stars: 2 (out of 5)   When: 5 (ESPN)   Line: BSU by 14 1/2

Next year Boise State is headed to the Big East and Arizona State will be coached by Todd Graham, who will move from Pitt. The Broncos are a missed field goal away from a BCS bowl, perhaps even the national championship. How motivated will either team be?

Best swag: Gift suite (selection of items)

LAS VEGAS – The MAACO Bowl in Las Vegas wasn’t the send-off No. 8 Boise State originally imagined for Kellen Moore, college football’s winningest quarterback.

But coach Chris Petersen said the Broncos aren’t thinking about those expectations, their opinions of the BCS or a pending move to the Big East in 2013 as they prepare to play Arizona State tonight.

“We’re all about this game,” Petersen told reporters Wednesday before a luncheon in advance of the game. “We’ve kind of preached to our guys about living in the moment, and living day to day, so that’s just kind of how we think as coaches.”

Arizona State is taking the same approach after a season where both teams expected to finish by playing in a bigger bowl.

Finishing 6-6 with a four-game losing streak cost Sun Devils coach Dennis Erickson his job, though he stayed on to coach his team in its first postseason appearance since 2007.

He said the prospect of being out at ASU won’t hit him until after the game.

“That’s all I’ve ever done,” Erickson said of being involved in football. “I couldn’t make any decisions on anything right now.”

At the luncheon, Erickson stifled tears as he reflected on his career and introduced his family, including his 87-year-old mother – who he said talked to him weekly after watching his games.

“Believe me, the last month of the season wasn’t very much fun,” Erickson said.

ASU quarterback Brock Osweiler said his team practiced and studied just as it had when it was winning earlier this year, but didn’t get the results the players wanted.

“I don’t really know what happened,” he said. “We’ve tried to put a finger on it over these last couple weeks, but we really can’t.”

Boise State, which finished 11-1 and seventh in the BCS standings, missed a bid to a larger bowl for the fourth time after being ranked among the BCS’ top 10.

“No issue. We’re over that whole deal,” Moore said.

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