Here's what ASU football needs to do to qualify for a conference tie-in bowl game

At 4-4, there is still work to be done if the Sun Devils want a game in December

Currently sitting at 4-4, ASU football would seem to have a relatively smooth path to a bowl game. However, the Sun Devils still have plenty to accomplish in the next four games if they want to play a game in December. 

Realistically, ASU needs to finish the season at 6-6 to be bowl eligible. With upcoming games against Colorado, UCLA, Oregon State and No. 23 UA, the Sun Devils are heading into what is considered the easiest stretch of their brutal schedule.

“We gotta make sure that we zero in on the technical things that can help us play better,” ASU offensive coordinator Billy Napier said. 

Nonetheless, the undeniable talent of the Pac-12 could rattle ASU’s chances at a bowl game.

The Pac-12 has six conference tie-in bowl games: Alamo Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Foster Farms Bowl, Sun Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl and the Cactus Bowl.

“Here’s the bottom line – November is for champions,” head coach Todd Graham said. “Most people self-select out. It’s how bad you want it.” 

Although ASU’s hopes for a New Year’s Six bowl game are gone, the possible placement of a top Pac-12 team in one of the higher-quality bowl games could open a spot for the Sun Devils to make a conference tie-in. 

Based off ESPN’s matchup predictor, this is how the Pac-12 South will look at the end of the season: USC (10-2),  UA (8-4), UCLA (7-5), ASU (6-6), Colorado (5-7) and Utah (5-7). Based off the same metrics this would be the Pac-12 North: UW (11-1), Stanford (8-4), WSU (8-4), Oregon (7-5), Cal (5-7) and OSU (1-11).

If everything were to magically fall in to place, the Pac-12 would carry eight bowl-eligible teams. Also, if No. 12 UW and No. 17 USC were to finish with those projected records, both programs would likely be a part of a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Taking a closer look at ASU’s projected total, the Sun Devils are predicted to beat Colorado, lose to UCLA, beat OSU and lose to UA.

In that situation, ASU wouldn’t have priority over two likely bowl-eligible teams in UCLA and UA.

So, this is what the Sun Devils can do to all but guarantee a bid to a Pac-12 tie-in bowl game:

Colorado Buffaloes

ASU’s upcoming match against the Colorado Buffaloes is one many people have the Sun Devils winning. Nevertheless, a win this week could prove to be huge in the grand scheme of things. With No. 17 USC and No. 23 UA looking to knock off each other this weekend, ASU could get an extra win, putting itself one step closer to a December game, while two Pac-12 South foes facing off – one of which will have to leave with a loss.

If won: 60 percent chance 

If lost: 45 percent chance

UCLA Bruins

This will be one of the final road games of the season for ASU, and a win would not only mean the second road win of the season, but the chances of a bowl game would also be incredibly high. Especially if the Sun Devils beat Colorado, a win versus the Bruins would put ASU at 6-6. Not only would ASU be bowl eligible, but the program would have an edge over UCLA in selection. 

If won last two: 90 percent chance 

If split last two: 70 percent chance

If lost last two: 35 percent chance

Oregon State Beavers

Not only would a loss to the Beavers be the most embarrassing of its kind this season, but depending on how the prior two games turn out, ASU could also be unable to reach eligibility. However, since the start of the season, OSU has been undoubtedly the worst team in the conference, and a win is almost certain.

If won last three: 99.9 percent chance 

If won two and lost one: 75 percent chance

If won one and lost two: 35 percent chance

If lost three: 5 percent chance

UA Wildcats

Everything that happens before this game is crucial to the post-season for ASU, but this game will feature a top-notch Wildcats squad looking to keep the Territorial Cup. 

“Just go out there every single day at practice with an attitude that you gotta be a champion,” redshirt junior quarterback Manny Wilkins said.

Not only could ASU beat another ranked team if UA stays at No. 23, but it could also have a surprising bearing on the Pac-12 Championship game, depending on what USC accomplishes. 

If won last four: 99.9 percent chance 

If won three and lost one: 95 percent chance

If won two and lost two: 75 percent chance

If won one and lost three: 5 percent

If lost four: 0.1 percent chance

Bowl Game Prediction: ASU vs. Boston College (Sun Bowl)

*All percentages are based solely off the reporter's predictions.

Reach the reporter at or follow @Anthony_Totri on Twitter.   

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