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BYU vs. SAN DIEGO STATE
Thursday, Dec. 20, 8:00 pm
The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is a game that doesn’t get a lot of attention since it is typically played on a weeknight before Christmas. This is the eighth year of the modern era of this bowl, though, and at least five of the previous seven games have been more than just a little interesting. In fact, last year’s TCU victory over Louisiana Tech was one of the more enjoyable games of the whole bowl season. This year’s matchup features former Mountain West rivals and two teams that have uncertain futures. BYU went independent, but it is flirting with again joining a conference — including perhaps the Mountain West again. San Diego State is slated to head to the Big East next year, but that move is less certain now that the Big East is falling apart. We don’t know what the future of this matchup holds, but for now it should offer a pretty compelling game.
San Diego State finished at 9-3 to wind up third in the Mountain West, and they were a strong 8-4 ATS. The three losses were all respectable — at Washington and Fresno State and to Washington. Their best wins were at Boise State and at Nevada. Coach Rocky Long is in his second year with the program.
The BYU Cougars came in with much higher hopes than the 7-5 record they wound up with. They were even worse ATS at 6-6. Their problem was consistency. They won their first two games, then lost two, then won two, then lost two, then won two before a loss and a win to cap the season. With the exception of Utah the losses were all quality — at Boise State, Notre Dame, and San Jose State, and at home to Oregon State. Utah State and at Georgia Tech were their best wins. Coach Bronco Mendenhall is in his eighth year at BYU.
Can San Diego State run? The Aztecs success depends more on their ability to run than anything else. They face a massive challenge here, though — BYU is second in the country in run defense in giving up a paltry 84.2 yards per game. The Broncos are stronger against the pass than the Aztecs are at passing as well, so the Aztecs really need to rely on their strength and try to establish their run early here. It’s going to be a very tough challenge. No other matchup will have a bigger impact on this game than this one.
BYU gets the nod from me for two big reasons — they are going to contain San Diego State on the ground, and Mendenhall is the better coach who will have more tricks to rely on. This will be a tight defensive battle, and a field goal could easily decide it, so I wouldn’t want to give up more than three points, but at this price I’m in. I see BYU winning this game by a little more than a touchdown. With game time later today I am liking BYU more and more and since we have been on them for 3 weeks now I will press it up a bit but will be taking the moneyline since I dont see that many points being scored. The total would probably be best used in a teaser but for anyone looking for a pick on the total I have an opinion on the Under.
BYU PK (moneyline)
BYU/SAN DIEGO STATE UNDER 49 POINTS (Opinion)
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I read a million and one articles about this game tonight and I could not get a feel. 80% of the articles I read had San Diego St and for good reasons. But I put the beans on BYU because of one reason and one reason only.....The Spooky Express! How can you go against this guy during the bowl season! Happy Holidays to you my friend and thank you for posting your plays!