Sun Bowl Preview: Will NC State’s Chubb Play? Can ASU Cope?
It's your Hyundai Sun Bowl update as the 24th-ranked NC State Wolfpack are roughly touchdown favorites over the Arizona State Sun Devils. This is despite the status of the Pack’s All-Everything defensive end Bradley Chubb, who is clearly NOT in pads and practicing with his teammates.
This is not definitely a repeat of what started with last season’s Sun Bowl when Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey elected to sit out as he prepared for the NFL Draft. But it’s not definitely NOT a repeat, either...so probably, it’s a repeat.
Many draft experts have Chubb being picked by the Colts third overall in next year’s NFL draft. Ultimately, it’s Chubb’s choice and it looks like he’s made it. The fallout from a college football playoff continues.
Chubb's likely absence won’t phase the Wolfpack’s defense, which has lots of senior leadership. Offensively, there’s the X-factor of Jaylen Samuels, NC State’s do-everything offensive threat who has never had an actual position coach, much less an actual position.
That said, NC State head coach Dave Doeren says having outgoing ASU head coach Todd Graham calling the plays in his final game makes things a bit more complicated.
If you haven't followed the saga of ASU football in 2017, get your popcorn ready.
Graham was fired about a month ago. Since then, new head coach Herm Edwards has been hiring assistants and recruiting. He was going to keep offensive coordinator Billy Napier, but then Napier took the Louisiana-Lafayette head coach’s job, but was going to stay on through the Sun Bowl, but at the Sun Bowl’s coordinator’s press conference, which was supposed to feature Napier...surprise! It was Todd Graham instead!
Just another patty to ASU's crazy burger of a season. Not even Tempe’s formerly infamous Heart Attack Grill could add this many layers without the whole thing falling over, but Graham insists his Sun Devils will take it one bite at a time.
This could be an intriguing game. ASU plays with with pace. If they’re not distracted and aren’t facing Bradley Chubb, well, a wise man once told me bowl games are all about the underdogs. We’ll see how much ASU really wants to fight for their outgoing coaches.
I’ll say this — if the Sparky IS distracted, this could get ugly.
Kickoff for the 84th Hyundai Sun Bowl is Friday at 1 p.m. Mountain Time. We'll have post-game analysis and more, plus you can follow us on Twitter during the game for updates (@600espnelpaso, @dukekeith).