It's a Holiday in San Diego for ASU

Saturday's results across college football provided plenty of warning signs that the Sun Devils won't be selected for a BCS game. On Sunday afternoon it became official. ASU won't stay home and play in the Fiesta Bowl, but rather venture to San Diego and play in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl against Texas on December 27th. Coach Erickson stated that he was excited for this opportunity

Co-Pac 10 champions Arizona State, fresh off a 10-2 regular season (7-2 Pac-10) will face the Texas Longhorns (9-3, 5-3 Big XIII). This will be the first time both teams have ever met. The game will be played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., and will kickoff at 5 p.m. PST (6 p.m. MT) on December 27. ESPN will provide both national television and national radio coverage of the game.

"We're excited about going to the Holiday Bowl," Head Coach Dennis Erickson told reporters who gathered at the Phoenician Resort prior to the team's banquet on Sunday evening. "We get to play Texas. That's a great program, a historic program, and great opportunity for us. 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. That's something that they (the BCS committee) have to deal with and they dealt with it and they did the best they can do with they system…that is the system and you can't worry about the system. They made their decisions…it's over and done with."

Erickson added that he would be in favor of a playoff system in college football to determine a champion, as long as it didn't affect the current bowl system.

ASU's Head Coach indicated that his players "are really excited about going where we're going" and how the game was a reward for the players. "They've worked very very hard and it's an opportunity. We get to play another football game. That's the biggest thing."

Erickson called Texas "one of the most storied programs in college football" and relished in the opportunity of facing such a high caliber opponent. "Our players know what they're about and how successful their program has been," he commented. "They're excited and it's gonna be a great challenge for us. I'm gonna try and let the success our team had soak in for a few days before we start getting ready for Texas."

Preparations for the bowl game will begin on the 14th of this month and will continue on the 15th, 17th, 18th-20th. Players will have the 21st off, and depart for San Diego on the 22nd.

Erickson, who's 5-5 over his career in Bowl Games, said that through out his career he has treated bowl practices the same as regular season sessions. "I believe we have about seven practices here before we head down (to San Diego) and practice for three days before we play the game," he commented. "Most of the preparation for the bowl game is done here before we go to the bowl site."

In terms of injuries Erickson expected Brandon Rodd to get better after re-injuring his ankle against Arizona last night. Keegan Herring suffered a high ankle sprain in the same game, but according to his head coach he should be available for the bowl game, as will Josh Barrett with his sprained MCL that forced him to miss the regular season finale.

Herring was all smiles when he met the media to talk about the Holiday Bowl bid. With his trademark radiant smile, he admitted he was the best dressed player at the team's banquet on Sunday. His face turned more somber, as he said that "all heads were down", including his own, when it was announced that the Fiesta Bowl didn't select ASU. Nonetheless, he kept a positive attitude about the team's post-season fate.

"I feel great about it. It's kind of disappointing that we couldn't get into a BCS bowl. But the Holiday Bowl is a great thing too," he stated. "A great opponent, Texas, they're 9-3…so it's a great time to go out there have fun, but also take care of business…where we have to go we have to shine. Holiday Bowl is a great bowl and you might get a great present at the same time."

Speaking of presents, or actually denying them, Herring said he and the Sun Devils took satisfaction of preventing their archrival from reaching the post-season for the second year in a row. "That's our rival. We're always gonna try to keep them out of a bowl," he remarked. "They thought they're going somewhere last year – they didn't. They thought they're going somewhere this year – they didn't. That's what happens when you talk too much and really can't back it up."

The Sun Devils finished ranked No. 11 in the final Bowl Championship Series (BCS) rankings, ranked No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and No. 12 in the AP rankings while Texas was No. 19 in the BCS while holding the No. 17 positions in both the coaches and AP rankings.

ASU will compete in a bowl game for the fourth-year in a row and will appearing in the Holiday Bowl for the third time in program history. ASU last played in the Holiday Bowl on December 27, 2002, where it fell, 34-17, to Kansas State. The Sun Devils' first Holiday Bowl appearance came on December 22, 1985, where Arkansas defeated ASU, 18-17.

The Sun Devils, who will be playing their 23rd bowl game, will look to improve on their 12-9-1 all-time bowl record and rebound from a 42-21 loss to Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl last season. Prior to that, ASU had won two bowl games in a row, defeating Rutgers in the 2005 Insight Bowl (45-40) after defeating Purdue in the 2004 Sun Bowl (27-23), which snapped a three-game bowl losing streak.

Texas finished second in the South Division of the Big XII behind Oklahoma and is coming off a 38-30 loss at Texas A&M. The Longhorns will be making their fourth Holiday Bowl appearance and its first since 2003 when it fell to Washington State, 28-20. Texas will also be making its 47th bowl appearance, which ranks second all-time in NCAA history behind Alabama (54).

The Longhorns have won three bowl games in a row, including a 26-24 defeat of Iowa in the 2006 Alamo Bowl and a 41-38 defeat of USC to win the BCS Championship at the 2006 Rose Bowl.

Ticket information (prices and availability) for Sun Devil fans will be made public at a later date.

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