Bowl: San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Teams: Navy (9-3) vs. San Diego State (8-4)
Toasting Town: San Diego
Alternative Name: Strategically Targeted Audience Bowl
Baldwin Level: Billy
Noteworthy: The stadium should be packed for this one, though it’s not because the game is especially intriguing. It’s a home game for San Diego State. It’s also a de facto home game for Navy, with Naval Base San Diego housing a large portion of the Pacific Fleet.
The stadium is also flooded after torrential rains. Even after days of pumping and bailing, the field is expected to be slick and muddy. That may be an advantage for Navy.
No discredit to Roger Staubach, but this may be the best historical era for Navy. They have won at least eight games every season since 2003, under Paul Johnson and his successor Ken Niumatalolo. They have won three of four against Notre Dame.
San Diego State is also in the midst of a Renaissance under Brady Hoke. In two seasons, he brought the Aztecs their first winning season since 1998. All four of their losses were by five points or less. They battled with Missouri, TCU and BYU on the road and suffered a narrow loss to Utah at home. The question is how long this will last. Brady Hoke may be a candidate for the Michigan job. He definitely will be a candidate for other jobs that open up.
For Navy to Win: They need a huge day from Ricky Dobbs. The Aztecs allowed 312 yards on the ground to Air Force, but held them in check with their 3-3-5 defense and were able to squeak out a win. Navy must have a flawless, effective performance from Dobbs. He will need to present a credible aerial threat downfield to open up the running lanes.
For San Diego State to Win: They must stay sound and tackle on defense. On offense, they have a decisive physical advantage against a smaller Navy front seven. Look for them to hand the ball off to Ronnie Hillman early and often.
Prediction: A moderate San Diego State win.
[Photo via Getty]