The Duel in the Desert happened last Friday. Arizona State won, but the Sun Devils' athletic department is sure not stopping the Destroy All Wildcats train just yet. ASU athletic director told the "Doug and Wolf" show that Arizona blocked a request for ASU to match the Wildcats' red-out with a black-out (the home team can do that), adding that it was the first time in the Pac-12 a team had done so.
Then, there's the whole jostling for bowl position ordeal. Both teams sit at 7-5 on the year, and no matter what a Sun Devil might tell you, there's not really a good way to say who's considered a "better" team, or what "better" really means.
ASU has a better conference record, but easily a weaker schedule. The Sun Devils missed playing Stanford, and didn't have the nonconference schedule of a Toledo -- once ranked -- or an Oklahoma State, who is now ranked No. 23. BCS-wise, the Wildcats are higher as well.
The 41-34 victory against Arizona last Friday, of course, would say ASU is the better team.
None of this may end up mattering too much. In fact, the jostling between the two rivals could matter little considering all the peripheral happenings in the Pac-12 bowl scenario madness.
In order to confuse you more, I give you a link dump of what the experts are saying regarding bowl positioning.
- Ted Miller of ESPN's Pac-12 blog writes on the "7-5 Disease" that is hampering ASU, Arizona, Washington and USC. Not only is this an argument of having an extra loss on the year because of a nine-game conference schedule, but it's also confusing the bowl game scenarios.
- Here's where it starts. The Washington Huskies looked like they would be headed to Las Vegas. Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times wrotes that a Vegas Bowl announcement won't come before Saturday night.
- Then again, rumors say the Vegas committee might be thinking more and more about Arizona, Condotta confirms. The most recent update said it's between Arizona and Washington, and there is no favorite right now.
- As of last like, it appeared more and more like ASU and Arizona were fighting for the Kraft Hunger Bowl in San Francisco. Arizona, however, would rather not take the game, as it will come in conflict with an important basketball game
- ASU also wants to avoid Albuquerque. Sun Devil AD Steve Patterson told 620 KTAR in Phoenix that it will disrupt finals week.
- HOLD THE PHONE. There's a darkhorse in all this. The Sun Bowl says that they're deciding between Arizona and USC, the El Paso Times is reporting. Obviously, Tucson is much closer and USC might not draw enough fans to El Paso. TV-wise, however, the Trojans probably have the better brand name.
What's to draw from all this? Right now, it's hard to say. The thing is this, however: The bowls pick in order. For example, the New Mexico Bowl won't pick until the Sun Bowl and Vegas Bowl get their selections in. Much like the recruiting process, especially in basketball, where the creme of the crop -- or in this case, the middle cremes of the crop, which isn't really the creme of the crop -- goes will dictate everything else.
Two things are being assumed in this. Oregon is assumed to make a BCS Bowl along with the Pac-12 title winner, and Boise State is assumed to miss out on the top-16 in the BCS standings, meaning they will fall to the Las Vegas Bowl.
The good news for Arizona fans is that the Wildcats have a sexy offense and a fan base that bowls like.