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4 reasons to watch the Cactus Bowl between UCLA and Kansas State in Phoenix

4 reasons to go to the Cactus Bowl in Phoenix
Posted at 5:58 PM, Dec 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-26 20:32:42-05

Call it the appetizer to the Fiesta Bowl. Call it the football game played at the baseball field.

Just don't call the 2017 Cactus Bowl uninteresting. 

No, Tuesday night's matchup at Chase Field between the Pac-12's UCLA Bruins and the Big 12's Kansas State Wildcats isn't what you'd call a high-profile game. But that doesn't mean there aren't reasons to tune in (7 p.m. on ESPN), or even buy a ticket if you happen to be in town for the holidays. Here are four reasons to check it out.

1. The likely No. 1 pick

It’s not often that the probable No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft comes to play in the Valley, but projected top 2018 pick Josh Rosen will hopefully be in action in downtown Phoenix on Tuesday, provided he clears concussion protocol in time.

The 20-year-old UCLA quarterback is only a junior, but there's a good chance he will leave school for the NFL after this season. That means he might play just one more college football game in his lifetime, and that game will take place at Chase Field.

Rosen, an All-Pac-12 Second-Team selection, has thrown for 3,756 yards and 26 touchdowns in 11 games this season. As ESPN analyst Greg McElroy notes, Valley fans have a chance to witness history by catching Rosen in action at the collegiate level for the very last time.

2. Points

As McElroy noted above, there should be no shortage of points scored in Phoenix on Tuesday night. Kansas State averages 32.1 points per game while allowing 25.8, while UCLA averages 33.8 points per game and allows 36.8.

The last Cactus Bowl matchup between a Pac-12 team and Big 12 team came two years ago when West Virginia and Arizona State combined for 85 points. It’s not unreasonable to expect a similar point total Tuesday.

3. Football in a baseball stadium

With the ongoing renovation of Sun Devil Stadium, this will mark the third straight year that the Cactus Bowl will be held at a stadium built for baseball. Fortunately, Chase Field happens to suit football just fine. 

It’s a unique experience, and anyone who was at the Diamondbacks’ Wild Card Game win in October knows how loud the ballpark can get. Here's a cool time-lapse video showing how Chase Field is transformed from a baseball diamond to a gridiron.

4. Cheap tickets

If all of that isn’t enough to convince you: Tickets are highly affordable. Resale tickets on are available for as little as $10. In terms of inexpensive entertainment in downtown Phoenix, the Cactus Bowl is tough to beat.