San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Preview

Who: TCU Horned Frogs vs Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

Where: Snapdragon Stadium (San Diego, California)

When: Wed, Dec 21st at 8:00 PM EST


TCU Horned Frogs (10-2, 7-0 in MWC)

Most impressive victory: 36-35 at Boise State (Nov 12th)

Worst loss: 40-33 vs SMU (Oct 1st)

Notable alumni: Sammy Baugh, Davey O’Brien, LaDainian Tomlinson

Despite going 10-2, TCU came pretty close to being undefeated this year yet didn’t sniff a BCS bowl. That’s what happens when you start off on the wrong foot. In the first major college football game of the year it was TCU that duked it out with future Heisman winner RG3 in an aerial warfare but came up short by two points. Just a few weeks later TCU also came up short against SMU as they fell in OT. That left TCU at 3-2 with two losses by single digits and BYU and Boise State looming on their schedule. In their next game, TCU won a tough road outing against San Diego State and never looked back as they beat bowl teams BYU and Wyoming and took away Boise State’s National Championship longshot and BCS dreams on their way to a Mountain West Championship.

Under Gary Patterson, TCU has made their bones on their defense. That wouldn’t be the case this year. TCU finished 30th Nationally in Points Allowed and 32nd in Total Defense. That’s not bad but in 2010 they finished #1 in both of those categories. To make up for the defense not being as stout, the offense had to step up despite losing QB Andy Dalton to the NFL. Soph Casey Pachall stepped in and had pretty much the same numbers that Dalton put up the previous year. Pachall showed a lot of moxie at times during the season and looks to have a bright future ahead of him at TCU. TCU also has three RBs that they can throw at you as Wayman James, Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley all ran for over 600 yards on the year. In the passing game, the guys to keep an eye on are Josh Boyce (56 rec, 932 yds, 9 TD) and Skye Dawson (41 rec, 415 yds, 4 TD).

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (8-4, 6-1 in WAC)

Most impressive victories: 27-7 at Ole Miss (Nov 12th)

Worst losses: 44-26 vs Hawaii (Oct 1st)

Notable alumni: Terry Bradshaw, Willie Roaf, Karl Malone

So who had Louisiana Tech winning the WAC at the beginning of the year? No you didn’t. Most thought it was a three team race between Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii. Hawaii and Fresno ended up being non-factors as they didn’t even make bowls and Louisiana Tech took out Nevada on Nov 19th in a de-facto WAC Championship Game.

The man that stirs the drink for the Bulldogs is Quinton Patton. The junior WR finished the year with 73 receptions for 1,135 yards and 10 TDs. Another player to keep an eye on is QB Colby Cameron. Cameron took over mid way through the year and went 6-0 in games that he played. He only completed 56% of his passes but had a very impressive TD to INT ratio of 11 to 2.

Twitter Follows For Poinsettia Bowl:

TCU Horned Frogs 

Frogs O’ War: @FrogsOWar 

Frog Fan Report: @FrogFanReport

Split Blood TCU: @spitbloodtcu

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs @BleedTechBlue

Josh McDaniel: @LATechJMcDaniel

Optimum Scouting’s Pro Prospects To Watch:

Going from BCS bowl to Poinsettia Bowl isn’t the ideal season to season move, but for a non-BCS power like TCU, a few losses can do that. Another big factor from their drop off is their lack of talent depth compared to years’ past. On their defense, Tank Carder is one of the (our top ranked) inside linebackers in the draft this year. While he’s not an elite athlete, he flows well to the ball, reacts to the play well, and can get around blocks. Also on defense. cornerback Greg McCoy isn’t an overly fluid cornerback but has the tackling ability to make an impact at the next level. That defense will have to stop Tennessee transfer and Louisiana Tech running back Lennon Creer, who hasn’t be as consistent as NFL teams would like, but his balance, suddenness, and jump cuts allow him to break a big play at any time.As for the other side of the ball, Louisiana Tech’s two top defenders both have NFL futures. Defensive end Matt Broha is a powerful rusher, plays with good leverage, and crashes the inside pretty well. He lacks great depth in rush moves and great balance, but could be a late rounder. Their best defender, inside linebacker Adrian Cole, might be one of the best senior inside linebackers along with Carder, as his hips, range, vision, and fluidity make him a fit for a variety of defenses.


The Picks

Jay (1-0): I think this is a really underrated bowl matchup and a potential upset special.  Louisiana Tech isn’t a name that inspires much anxiety in opponents, but this is a surprisingly good football team, having taken Mississippi State to overtime and lost by a combined 3 points to C-USA powers Houston and Southern Miss.  They are just a few plays from being 11-1 right now.  Nonetheless, they arrive in San Diego riding a 7-game win streak and on the heels of capturing their 1st conference championship in a decade.  Oh, and it will be their first bowl game since 2008.  You might say they have a lot of intangibles on their side. Meanwhile, despite besting Boise State and brining home the Mountain West title, playing here against a no-name opponent after 2 straight BCS games must be a major disappointment for TCU.  The Horned Frogs are a better team than LaTech, but as history has shown us, often times that ever difficult to quantify “want-to” means more than talent in bowl games.  Ultimately, I think if TCU cares about this game, they win.  If not, the Bulldogs will at least play with them to the end.

TCU 38, Louisiana Tech 31

Kevin (1-2): This one looks pretty straight-forward on paper. The Bovoda sportsbook has TCU as a 10 point favorite and our friends over at College Football by the Numbers has TCU winning 29-18. Sometimes weird stuff happens in bowl games. One team can be psyched to be in a bowl while another might be disappointed not to be in a different one. The better team on paper doesn’t always win. That being said, I have confidence in Gary Patterson to get his team motiviated to win this game.

TCU 35 Louisiana Tech 21

Ross (3-0): TCU rolls in their last bowl as a non-Big 12 team.

TCU 38, Louisiana Tech 20.

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