There are several factors that could affect the outcome of the New Mexico vs Arizona Bowl on December 20th. The total combined score could be high, so there’s a chance the game could end in a tie. The weather conditions will be a determining factor as well. If the game is played outdoors, then the Sun will be a factor. It gets very hot in Phoenix, so if the game is played in the afternoon, then the temperature could impact the outcome. A lot is on the line for both teams, so let’s have a look at the numbers and see if there’s any value in betting on the under or the over for this game.
The Run-And-Shoot Offense Might Not Shine
The strength of an offense determines how successful they can be. When a team has a potent run game and a strong passing attack, they can put up a ton of points and be extremely difficult to stop. It’s clear that the Sun Devils have put a lot of focus on improving their offense this year, so it’s not a big surprise they’re ranked 8th in the nation. The main question is will this new-look offense be able to carry over their success into the postseason?
Last year, the Wildcats ranked 7th in the nation in total offense, but they only scored 12 points in their bowl game against Michigan State. There’s no question that their offense was ineffective in the second half, as they only managed to score 10 points. It was the first time in 40 years that Kansas State was shut out in the second half of a bowl game. It’s also safe to assume that head coach Kevin Sumlin will be looking to improve on this dismal performance, especially since they still have a few weeks to prepare for the tournament.
The Defense Might Be Awfully Overrated
While the offense might not be able to carry over their success into the playoffs, the defense probably can. From a national ranking of 17th, it’s clear that the defensive line of the Wildcats is absolutely impenetrable. They led the nation in sacks last year with 38 and they shut down opposing running backs all season long. Their linebackers were consistently among the leaders in tackles as well.
However, despite their physical advantage on the defensive line, they might not be able to stop the run in the postseason. The Sun Devils are a very balanced attack, as they’ve got a powerful running back and wide receiver tandem. Also, the quarterback, Nick Florence, is a dual-threat who can look to throw the ball or run with it.
The Hot Weather Will Help The Road Runners
One of the factors that could affect the outcome of the Sun Devils’ playoff game is the heat. While it’s not a problem in the winter, Arizona is best understood as a place that gets very hot and dry. It’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach 40 degrees or more, so there’s a strong possibility that the Sun might beat the Wildcats in a heated matchup. As mentioned before, the temperature could be a problem for the Wildcats, as they don’t handle the heat very well. Despite this, the game should be close in terms of total points scored.
When the dust settled on another disappointing season for the Kansas State football team, it was revealed that their offensive coordinator, Kris Richard, left for the University of Arizona. Richard’s influence could be seen in multiple ways – from the way the Wildcats’ offense approached the game to the way they used their special teams. One of the biggest differences is that the previous year the run-and-shoot was incredibly effective for the Wildcats, while this year they only managed to score 11.7 points per game. In the offseason, head coach Kevin Sumlin made it clear that he wasn’t happy with this drastic decrease in productivity and looked to change this.
This is where Richard’s influence came from, as he implemented this scheme and helped the Wildcats become one of the most prolific offenses in the country. It’s a scheme that focuses on quick passes and screens, with the majority of the action coming from the backfield. The idea is to utilize the speed of the QB and wide receivers, while also keeping the defense on its toes with an unpredictable attack. This could make for a potent combination, as the faster you can react to what the defense is doing, the more time you’ll have to find an open receiver and put the ball in the air. One of the keys to making this work is play-action and keeping the defense guessing, as this is where most of the quick passes come from. Here’s a good example of play-action using the run-and-shoot offense against UCLA in 2016. The speedy Christian McCaffrey faked a handoff to Royce Freeman, before hitting the quick slant to Tyler Sattefani for the touchdown. This is part of the beauty of this offense – you never know where you might find the open receiver or how the play might develop, as everything is predicated on the defense making the wrong move.
Back to the 2019 season, the run-and-shoot has been a great scheme for the Wildcats, as they currently lead the Pac-12 in total offense. However, this year it’s been a little less effective, as they only managed to score 12.7 points per game. One could argue this is because of the talent in the Pac-12, as six of their top seven offensive players are on defense. Regardless, this is a scheme that is very effective and could be a great scheme for any football team. It doesn’t hurt that it’s backed up by a physical defense that is able to generate a push when attacking the run. This is exactly what the Denver Broncos need, as their defense has been one of the worst in the league for the last few years. If the Broncos can get this right – using a balanced offense that relies on play-action and double-digit passing touchdowns – then they can finally start moving up the mountain towards the top. This is what makes the quarterback so important in this scheme, as they have all the control over the offense. With no huddles or signals, the quarterback can take a snap, look down the field and find an open receiver. He can then process what the defense is doing and make a quick decision on where to go with the ball. In the meantime, the defense has the luxury of pursuing the ball and preventing the offense from gaining any significant traction.
One thing is for sure about the New Mexico vs Arizona bowl – the game will be close. Let’s look at the numbers to see if there’s any value in betting on either team. While the offense might struggle in the extreme heat, the defense is probably better off having the temperature rise, as this will make them faster and more physical. Arizona is a great team, as they’ve got a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. However, this could be the year that the Sun Devils pull off the upset and knock the Wildcats out of the playoffs.