New Mexico Bowl
Absent a connection to either team or a need for immediate counseling, no pre-Christmas bowl merits your attention.
But if desperate to avoid the mall Saturday, settle in for Nevada and Arizona in the New Mexico Bowl — and not solely because of its corporation-free name. The Wildcats and Wolf Pack feature not only top-20 scoring offenses, averaging more than 35 points per game, but also the nation's top two rushers. Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey and Nevada's Stefphon Jefferson average 146.4 and 141.9 yards per game, respectively.
Add quarterbacks Matt Scott and Cody Fajardo, plus two porous defenses, and you have all the fixin's for a reasonably entertaining game.
Las Vegas Bowl
Boise State got out-Boised by Northern Illinois, which will play in the Orange Bowl. But the Broncos still get a warm-weather date with a big-name team, Washington, in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 22.
The game has geography on its side (Washington and Idaho share a border), and it could start a rivalry. Washington opens next season at renovated Husky Stadium against the Broncos, and the Huskies travel to Boise in 2015.
Boise barely lost to Michigan State (17-13) and San Diego State (21-19) during a 10-2 season. The stingy Huskies held Oregon State to 17 points while upsetting the No. 7 Beavers. But they got embarrassed in their regular-season finale, losing to rival Washington State.
Iliana Limón Romero
The New Mexico Bowl has hosted some dramatic games, with Colorado State rallying to beat Fresno State 40-35 in 2008 and Wyoming beating Fresno State 35-28 in double overtime in 2009.
But this year's best pre-Christmas treat will be BYU versus San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday.
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall was San Diego State coach Rocky Long's defensive coordinator at New Mexico before taking over the Cougars. The two have sound defensive systems and know each other's programs well.
The Aztecs are ranked No. 16 nationally in rushing offense. BYU's stout defense, which ranks No. 2 against the run, will put that to the test.
New Mexico Bowl
Los Angeles Times
There are four decent pre-Christmas games that I won't necessarily switch off right away to watch C-SPAN.
Toledo vs. Utah State on Saturday deserves a better bowl than the "Potato," while Washington and Boise State in Las Vegas on Dec. 22 isn't shabby. I'm also intrigued by BYU's defense vs San Diego State's offense in the Poinsettia on Thursday.
But my leader in the pre-Santa TV clubhouse is the New Mexico Bowl. This is a Saturday battle of 7-5 teams, true, but Arizona vs. Nevada should provide solid entertainment. It's Rich Rodriguez's spread offense against Chris Ault's "Pistol" offense. According to scoring averages, Arizona wins this game 37.25 to 37.00.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times