2012 Poinsettia Bowl Preview

December 19, 2012

I got a text from my dad a few days ago that said the following: “You do know that you will hold the bowl mania lead for the first time ever and then the world will end 12/21…”

Thanks for that one, dad. Although he isn’t technically correct (I won my Bowl Mania group in 2010), it does point out how badly I usually start out in the game. It has been quite a while since I have had sole possession of my group’s lead after the first couple of games.

A shout out must be given to the Arizona Wildcats football team, which never gave up and are the reason why I did not lose 29 confidence points on the first day. I was going crazy at my family’s Christmas party when the onside kick was recovered.

I have been telling my friends that I don’t know what day it is on winter break unless a bowl game is being played. For that reason, I’ll have to start keeping track tomorrow after a several day break, and I we’ll be bowling all the way up through Christmas Eve. I can’t wait.

Here is the preview for the Poinsettia Bowl.

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (Thursday, 8 PM ET)

BYU vs. San Diego State

BYU and San Diego State will revive an old Mountain West Conference rivalry on Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The Aztecs are happy to be playing a bowl game at home again, and are carrying a lot of momentum into this game. Rocky Long’s team is on a seven game winning streak and earned a share of the MWC title this season. BYU has had an up-and-down season to say the least, but are senior laden and should be playing hard in this game as well. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall coached under Rocky Long at New Mexico State, so there is a lot of familiarity between the two coaches.

San Diego State will look to get things started with the run game. The Aztecs have one of the more dangerous rushing attacks in the nation thanks to sophomore back Adam Muema, who leads the team with 1,355 yards rushing and 16 rushing touchdowns. Muema and the rest of the Aztecs will be going up against one of the best defenses in the country, though, especially against the run. BYU allows just 84.3 yards on the ground and has given up just 5 rushing touchdowns this season.

If BYU can get some offensive production, this game should be exciting to watch. The Cougars have dealt with a quarterback controversy this season, although it appears that senior James Lark will be making the start in the bowl game. Lark, despite being the backup for most of the season, has thrown for eight touchdowns and no interceptions and is more accurate than fellow senior Riley Nelson. I think that with Lark in the game, BYU has a much better shot at putting points on the board.

This game will likely be dominated by the defenses, as I suggest in an article I wrote earlier this week. While San Diego State has been good against the pass this season, I believe a defensive struggle favors the Cougars, which have been in many close games this season. Mendenhall is 7-2 against his former boss in head-to-head matchups, and I think after this game he will be 8-2. Senior leadership will be key in this game, and turnovers will also play a big part in determining a winner. I have the Cougars for 15 points in this game, but I’d be surprised if it’s not a single point victory either way.

My Pick: BYU 23-21

Remember, if you’d like to share your opinion on Around The Corn for any of the upcoming bowls, shoot me an email with your thoughts and prediction to kbecks@aroundthecorn.com. Or you can like Around The Corn’s Facebook page or send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. As long as you send your thoughts at least two games before the game is to be played, I can assure you that your thoughts will show up in an article.

– K. Becks

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