Current Trend in Poinsettia: Strong Undertow
Share this article
There are few better places to be during the holiday season than San Diego.
Actually, there are few better places at any time of the year than San Diego. That's probably why there are two college bowl games in that fine city every season.
The question making the rounds these days, though, is whether one of the teams in this year's Poinsettia Bowl really wants to be there. That would be Northern Illinois.
Looking at the longer arc, the Huskies put together an undefeated regular season in 2012, won the MAC championship game, but then got smashed by Florida State in the Orange Bowl. They came back in 2013 to put together an undefeated season and only had to win the MAC championship game again to hit the big stage of a BCS bowl for the second year running. However, a good -- not great, but good -- Bowling Green Falcon squad shut down Jordan Lynch & Co, and that was that.
Meanwhile, the Utah State Aggies suffered their big blow when all-everything QB Chuckie Keeton was lost for the season before it really got started. And yet, the boys from Logan put together a strong enough effort to make the Mountain West's title game, where they fell to Fresno State in a surprisingly close 24-17 contest that went down to the final moments.
After a season of overachievement, there's not much doubt that the Aggies are ecstatic to be in any bowl. The fact they got the Poinsettia is icing on the cake to them.
Before we go any further, let's get something else straight. This is the most controversial bowl name of the batch. Is it pronounced poin-setta or poin-set-tia? Some say they're both right. while the Miriam-Webster dictionary -- the best-selling in the USA -- goes with the latter. Fortunately, this is an article and not a video report, but the preference here is to defer to the nation's leader.
Looking at the Bovada data tool on the Home page, it's easy to see why the expectation is this will be a close one.
However, after going deeper into the data tool, indications are not only that December hasn't been kind to either team, but that the two teams' strengths are matched against each other, ie- the Huskies offense vs the Aggies defense.The thinking here is that the Mountain West was a tougher conference than the MAC; we may have seen evidence of that when San Diego State crushed Buffalo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Another key is the Utah State defense is stronger than that of Bowling Green.
So, a close game seems to be on the cards. From here, it seems to point to an Aggie win in a thriller, but that's still only a feeling. What is much more solid ground is this will be a hard-fought defensive battle, and the point total of 58 is going to be tough to reach.
Prediction: Utah State vs Northern Illinois under 58
Result ... Utah State 21 Northern Illinois 14 Total = 35 under covers