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Holiday Bowl Preview

Left out of the Bowl Championship Series, the No. 12 Arizona State Sun Devils will play No. 17 Texas in the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 27.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Texas –1.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for the Holiday Bowl (Game Matchup).

While the Sun Devils had hoped to play in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., Holiday Bowl officials are happy to have them in their game at Qualcomm Stadium.

``Back in 2002 they brought a ton of fans and we know they'll bring a lot of fans this time,'' Holiday Bowl executive director Bruce Binkowski said Sunday. ``We are very fortunate to have a BCS-caliber team in our game.''

Coach Dennis Erickson led the Sun Devils to a 10-2 record in his first season in Tempe. With USC heading to the Rose Bowl as the Pacific-10 Conference champion, the Holiday Bowl was obligated by contract to take the runner-up Sun Devils.

``As I said last night after the game, we have no control over the BCS; all we can do is go out there and play football, which we did a good job of 10 times,'' Erickson said in a statement released by the school. ``That's something that they have to deal with and they dealt with it and they did the best they can do with the system. This is just how it is.

``We're excited about going to San Diego. That's a great bowl game.''

It will be the first meeting between ASU and Texas.

``Texas is one of the most historic programs in all of college football,'' Erickson said. ``I got the opportunity to play them one other time when I was at Miami in the Cotton Bowl. It's going to be great. Our players know what they're about and what their program's about. We've got a few players from Texas. They're excited about playing.''

The Sun Devils are 0-2 in previous Holiday Bowls, losing to Arkansas in 1985 and to Kansas State in 2002.

Coach Mack Brown will bring Texas (9-3) to the Holiday Bowl for the fourth time in eight years. The Longhorns lost to Oregon in 2000, beat Washington in 2001 and lost to Washington State in 2003.

Brown said Erickson ``is a great friend and one of the winningest coaches in college football history. He's a guy that's been around a long time and won everywhere he's been. He's put together a really good and balanced team that we'll have to be ready to play our best game to compete with.''

Texas will try to win its fourth straight bowl game.

``The Holiday Bowl always seems to be a wild game with lots of sudden changes so we're looking forward to getting back on the practice field and preparing to play,'' Brown said in a statement released by the school.

The Sun Devils ``were a team that was in the BCS talks all the way up until the end so we're facing a team that is definitely one of the best in the nation,'' Brown added.

The Holiday Bowl is sponsored by Pacific Life.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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