San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – December 19, San Diego, CA
#18 TCU Horned Frogs (10-2, 7-0 MWC) vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-4, 6-1 WAC)
Odds: TCU -10
OffshoreInsiders.com preview: TCU is hoping to leave the Mountain West on a high note with a win over the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.
The Poinsettia Bowl is a long way from the BCS dreams TCU had at the beginning of the season, but the BCS computers don’t have much sympathy for two loss teams. They were all but eliminated from the national title hunt after being upset by Baylor in week 1 and were eliminated completely after dropping one to SMU in week 5.
But the Horned Frogs bounced back and handled the adversity well. They won their last seven games, upset then #5 Boise State on the Smurf Turf, and took the Mountain West title. A win in San Diego would be icing on the cake for a season that was disappointing, but still pretty good.
The Bulldogs come into San Diego on the heels of one of their best seasons in a long time. They’ve been on a real roll and haven’t lost a game since the first week of October. But because they’re a favored early season non-conference opponent that plays in the WAC, the Bulldogs don’t see a lot of late season tests.
To stay in the game, LTU is going to have to seriously step up their offensive production. They’re only averaging around 30 points per game which is impressive, but less impressive when you look at some of their opponents this season. A 44-0 victory over New Mexico State is a great way to drive averages higher, but it’s not great preparation for playing TCU.
Tech’s defense, which is is only giving up around 21 points a game, will have its hands full trying to stop TCU’s impressive running game. The Horned Frogs are averaging 41 points a game while putting up 210 yards rushing and 243 yards passing per game. But with WAC defensive player of the year Adrien Cole leading their defense, they should be able to compete.
There are a number of intangible factors that matter more in bowl games than in the regular season and that’s what we may see here. TCU players are saying all the right things about playing in a non-BCS bowl, but their disappointment is readily apparent. This kind of attitude can really weigh down a team and keep them from bringing their best to a very distracting bowl game environment.
Louisiana Tech hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2008 and you can bet that it’s a big deal for these players. The Bulldogs are 2-0 ATS as double-digit underdogs this season and those were both road games. TCU is 6-6 ATS and 2-4-1 as a double-digit favorite.
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