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Poinsettia Bowl picks
Thursday Night College Football The holidays are just around the corner and that means a plethora of college football games on the card in the coming days. After last weekend’s two openers, we sit with a 1-1 mark against the spread as Nevada stayed well within the 9-10 points they were getting vs. Arizona, while the Toledo/Utah State game fell one score short of going ‘over’ the total.

Poinsettia Bowl Preview

BYU (-3, 47) vs. San Diego State

BYU and San Diego State meet in the Poinsettia Bowl tonight as these former Mountain West Conference rivals get to renew acquaintances. These two teams used to play every year in conference play, but once BYU bolted to be an Independent thanks to a lucrative television deal the rivalry was dead. Thanks to very similar seasons by both schools, the rivalry can pick back up at least for one more game.

It’s the San Diego State Aztecs that come into this game as the hotter team by finishing the regular season on a seven-game winning streak to earn a share of the Mountain West crown. During that stretch they surprised many by beating Boise State in Boise, becoming only the third team in the last 10 years to win on the road in that stadium. The Aztecs have also gone 6-1 ATS during that time, failing only to cover as 17 1/2-point favorites in an 11-point victory over UNLV. They have the added bonus of playing this game in their own stadium and were 6-1 SU here this season. When you add all that up with the fact that San Diego State is a team that loves to control the game with their rushing attack (229 yards per game), it’s a bit of a surprise to see them getting points here.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that as an Independent now, BYU has a tougher schedule than what Mountain West teams as the Cougars have faced the likes of Georgia Tech, a ranked Oregon State team and top-ranked Notre Dame. BYU destroyed the Ramblin’ Wreck, got worked 42-24 by Oregon State and hung around admirably at Notre Dame in a 17-14 loss. This is a team that knows how to get the job done under Bronco Mendenhall, playing in a Bowl game every year since 2007 and currently riding a three-game Bowl winning streak.

But Mendenhall is up against his former head coach as he was a DC for Rocky Long in the early 2000’s at New Mexico and BYU will likely have a tough time against San Diego’s rather odd 3-3-5 defense. They have taken on some of the best rushing attacks in the country (Army, Air Force) and held their own and then some. San Diego State is gunning for a 10-win season here and with them being at home, you’ve got to like their chances.

Take the points with San Diego State.

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