Bowl Game Corruption Exposed: Poinsettia Bowl Edition
Tonight is the night that we’ve all been waiting for. Could it be? Could it really be? It could be and it is. Tonight at 8:00 PM the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl kicks off. The same bank that brings over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs to the San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties is bringing you this matchup between BYU and…San Diego State.
Hold up a tick. I was getting excited for a minute, but now this thing just seems like a sham. Wow, (Dude’s note: Yes, I did just pull a “ShamWow”) this doesn’t feel right. You’re telling me that the San Diego County Credit Union – a body that opens up membership to everyone working or living in San Diego – is sponsoring the bowl game that features San Diego State. Will the referees also be members of the credit union? I mean this thing reeks of corruption and/or awkward encounters.
Even if this game isn’t rigged for the Aztecs of San Diego State to win, it’s still got “Disaster” written all over it. How weird is it going to be when SDSU head coach Ricky Long walks into his bank tomorrow to discuss a loan because he didn’t get a bowl victory bonus check and can no longer afford the pool he was planning on putting in his back yard? He just got a Jelly of the Month membership from the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and now he’s asking for help, with jam and toast still heavy on his breath, from the very same folks who burned him the night before.
To say this is a conflict of interest is an understatement. To say that this game is of interest, however, is an overstatement.
But, it’s a game worth previewing nonetheless. Why? Because it’s a game.
BYU and San Diego State shared three common opponents this season: Boise State, Hawaii and San Jose State. BYU lost to Boise State by one point early in the season on the road while SDSU won at Boise State by two points in November. BYU beat Hawaii by a score of 47-0 while SDSU beat the once-Rainbowed Warriors 52-14. Both teams lost to San Jose State – SDSU by a score of 38-35 and BYU by a score of 20-14. The results against these three foes are undeniably close. BYU holds a combined 67-27 scoring edge over the three teams (but went 1-2) while SDSU holds a combined scoring edge of 107-71 (but went 2-1).
Not surprisingly, most expect this game to be close. BYU comes into the game favored by 2.5 points according to the fine crooks in Los Vegas despite touting a worse record (7-5) than SDSU (9-3) and taking on San Diego in the city of San Diego in a game essentially sponsored by San Diego. Nonetheless, I like this BYU team – at least in this game.
I addressed this several weeks ago, but in short BYU kills bad teams and loses close games to good teams. Accordingly, I think the Cougars are better than SDSU (an average team at best), and a few other systems back me up.
Neither team is ranked in the BCS Poll, the AP Poll or the Coaches Poll, but BYU comes in at 34th in the Sagarin rankings while the Aztecs are clocking in at 50th. And, most importantly to me – the math is heavily in favor of BYU. BYU is much better in scoring and defensive efficiency than their record belies. Remember the Cougars lost four (Notre Dame, Oregon State, Boise State, San Jose State) of their five games to top-25 teams (per the most recent BCS poll) and three of those losses (Boise State, Notre Dame, San Jose State) were on the road by a combined 10 points.
The normalized scoring model shows a score projection of 30-18. The model isn’t designed to predict an exact score (although it is 2-0 against the spread this Bowl Season), but does show some degree of accuracy. Accordingly, it’s hard to over-rule a 12-point spread between BYU’s projected scoring and SDSU’s, especially when BYU has probably played the tougher schedule.
I’d take BYU straight up, and I expect them to cover the 2.5.
That’s all I got/