Preview of the San Diego County CU Poinsettia Bowl with Northern Illinois vs. Utah State

The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is a postseason college football game that has been taking place every December since its inception in 2005.  The second place team in the Mountain West conference automatically receives a berth in the Poinsettia Bowl, and Army is also selected to play in the game if they finish the season as a bowl eligible team.  If Army is not bowl eligible at the end of the season, then the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl can chose a team from any conference it chooses.  The 2013 version of the Poinsettia Bowl will be a match-up between Northern Illinois and Utah State, and the game will take place on December 26.

Poinsettia_Bowl_Trophy

How Utah State Got There

The 2013 college football season was Utah State’s first in the Mountain West conference, and they had no problem winning their division to advance to the conference championship game.  Utah State finished their season with a 7-1 record in the Mountain West conference, which earned them a chance to play against Fresno State to win the conference.  The winner of the Mountain West conference championship game would earn a spot in the Las Vegas Bowl and the loser would go to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.  Utah State would hang with Fresno State the entire game, but they would ultimately fall short to a superior team in the conference title game by the score of 24-17 to earn a trip to San Diego to play in the Poinsettia Bowl for the first time.

How Northern Illinois Got There

The Northern Illinois Huskies started the season with 12 straight victories, which was good enough to get the team ranked as the 16th best in the country heading into the final week of the college football regular season.  Northern Illinois had to face Bowling Green in the MAC championship game to end its season.  If they were able to defeat Bowling Green, then they would have finished the season with a perfect record and earned an automatic spot in a BCS bowl game.  The MAC championship game did not go as planned for the Northern Illinois Huskies as they dominated by Bowling Green throughout the game.  They would ultimately lose 47-27 to end their BCS hopes and a perfect regular season.  Following the loss to Bowling Green, Northern Illinois accepted the chance to play in the San Diego Country Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl for the second time in the school’s history.   Northern Illinois would lose to TCU 37-7 in their first Poinsettia Bowl appearance in 2006.

Game Odds

Everything would point to the Northern Illinois Huskies being heavily favored in this game after their amazing regular season run, but they are currently only a 2.5 point favorite over the 8-5 Utah State Aggies.  The Northern Illinois Huskies were looking forward to playing in a BCS bowl game, so they may not be inspired heading into the Poinsettia Bowl.  The teams are actually very evenly matched despite the record difference, so the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl is guaranteed to be one of the most entertaining and close games this college football bowl season.