Having a more successful season than their in-state rival, the Arizona State Sun Devils would consider the 2013 campaign a success. However, falling one game short of the Rose Bowl will leave a salty taste in anyone’s mouth as they were also passed up for a BCS bowl.
On the other side of the field, the Texas Tech Red Raiders were once one of the best teams in the nation after a 7-0 start to the year, but five straight losses quickly changed that as they disappeared in the second half of the season.
Arizona State has been a solid overall team this season, but the offense has been in as good of hands as any in the nation behind talented junior quarterback Taylor Kelly. The veteran quarterback and leader has accounted for 3,510 yards and 28 touchdowns for the 28th-best passing offense in the nation. Jaelen Strong has easily been his favorite target, catching 71 passes for 1,094 yards and seven scores. Marion Grice leads the run game wit 996 yards and 14 scores while Kelly is second with 473 yards and eight scores.
Texas Tech is also in good hands. However, the Red Raiders have the future to look forward to after a disappointing end to the season left them with a 7-5 record after a 7-0 start. Baker Mayfield ended the season as the team’s starter as the freshman passed for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns while Davis Webb also split time during the season and also passed for 2,315 yards as well as 16 touchdowns. Jace Amaro has been the best receiver on the team and maybe one of the best in the nation, catching 98 passes for 1,240 yards and eight touchdowns. The run game ranks 107th in the nation.
Defensively, the Red Raiders steadily declined throughout the season. Texas Tech ranks 90th in points allowed per game as well as ranking 77th in yards allowed per game with 425. Arizona State has been much better on defense, ranking 57th in points allowed and 39th in yards allowed per game in the nation.
Arizona State will take on Texas Tech in the 2013 Holiday Bowl in San Diego, Calif., at 10:15 p.m. EST on Monday, Dec. 30. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
PREDICTION: Arizona State 34, Texas Tech 24
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.