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MAACO Las Vegas Bowl Preview: Arizona State, Boise State Battle Their Disappointment

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MAACO Las Vegas Bowl, December 22, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

What it is: The former cause of a hundred MORMONS PLAYING IN LAS VEGAS jokes before BYU went independent.

The Sponsor: The car repair company not responsible for those awful singing "know-how" commercials.

The Teams: Arizona State and Boise State

How Arizona State got here: One of the most inexplicable games of the year. ASU would not be eligible for the postseason but for a 21-point annihilation of Southern Cal that I can't fully explain to this day. The victory against a 10-win bunch of Trojans was the only win Arizona State has over a team with more than seven victories on the season. (Even its FCS opponent, UC Davis, had a losing record.) The Sun Devils never really got the doors completely blown off of them -- though sometimes the hinges were very badly damaged -- but when you're losing to Washington State and Arizona, the margins really don't matter.

How Boise State got here: By refusing to recruit a kicker that could, you know, kick a field goal successfully. Once again, the Broncos lost a game on a missed three-pointer, this one against TCU at home, and once again, it cost them a chance at playing in the BCS. (This might be a moot point when Boise eventually moves to the Big East, but even that's a questionable proposition right now.) Typically, the loss was the only time the Broncos were in a truly close game, with the 11-point win against Air Force and the 14-point victory opposite Georgia the only two games that were within two scores at the end. While Kellen Moore and the offense have gotten all the press in recent years, the Broncos have an underrated defense that was tops in the defense-minded Mountain West in rushing, pass efficiency, total and scoring defense (and might have been tops in passing yardage defense if teams weren't always trying to catch up).

College football fans care because: Either way, you can laugh at a team that "should" win this game losing it.

SEC fans care because: It's your last chance to complain about ESPN touting Boise State.

Watch this game if...: You like states.

The result: Boise State 45, Arizona State 15