Present Iteration: The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Past Iterations: None
Toasting Town: San Diego, California
Combatants: TCU (10-2) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4)
Holiday Equivalent: Not Getting the Gift on Your List You Really Wanted
TCU is moving on up to the Big 12 next season. Their final bowl destination explains why. The Horned Frogs finished 10-2 and upset Boise State on the Smurf Turf to win the Mountain West Conference. They finished 15th in the BCS rankings, one place out from BCS eligibility. They had a better win than two teams in front of them, Michigan State and Clemson, who lost three times.
For their troubles TCU was busted down to a Pre-Christmas afterthought bowl and, by eliminating an automatic bid for Boise State, cost themselves and the rest of the conference BCS money. It’s not so fun, being among the great unwashed.
Attendance: Bowl organizers anticipate a crowd of 25,000, the lowest in the Poinsettia Bowl’s history. TCU sold out its 3,000 ticket allotment. Louisiana Tech did not. Though, the game might have a greater economic impact than last year’s record 48,049 crowd, as fans from outside San Diego purchase hotel rooms.
Christmas Spirit: Two Louisiana Tech players, Quinton Patton and Adrien Cole, donated their $300 Best Buy gift cards to needy children, at the Bowl’s Make-a-Wish Foundation event.
Texas Christian University Horned Frogs [SRS 18]
Best Wins: Boise State (8), Brigham Young (42), San Diego State (60), Air Force (63)
Losses: Baylor (14), SMU (75)
Famous Alum: Chris Klein
The Horned Frogs lost a number of players from last year’s 14-0 Rose Bowl winning team. It wasn’t evident on offense, where Casey Pachall stepped in seamlessly for Andy Dalton (7th nationally in passer rating) and the team finished 9th in yards per play. It was evident on defense, with Patterson’s vaunted unit falling from 2nd in yards per play to 44th. That said, this is a down year and TCU was beaten once in regulation, by two points, to the quarterback that won the Heisman. Gary Patterson is an angel of all angels. He’s a dream come true. A bigger program should have hired him on the spot, about five years ago.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs [SRS 45]
Best Wins: Nevada (56), Utah State (67)
Losses: Houston (13), Southern Miss (28), Mississippi St. (38), Hawaii (86)
Famous Alum: Joey Greco
The Bulldogs have a top 25 defense, that stops the run and gets a lot of pressure up front. They won seven straight (6-0 in the WAC) after a 1-4 start to win the conference. Three of their losses – at Southern Miss (-2), Houston (-1), at Mississippi State (OT) – weren’t that damning. Their final five wins came after Colby Cameron took over as starting quarterback and threw 11 touchdowns to just two interceptions.
Key: Dick Bumpas. TCU’s defense is not the 2010 version, but they still have speed. The Horned Frogs’ defense coordinator should throw out enough tricks and confusion to rattle the relatively green Cameron.
Recreational Prediction: TCU (-9.5), though we don’t feel that comfortable about it.
[Photo via Getty]