Three Bowl games featuring Big East foes to watch over the holiday season.
San Diego State
Qualcomm Stadium: San Diego, CA
San Diego State (9-3-,7-1) won a share of the Mountain West Conference for the first time since 1998. They finished the season on a seven-game win streak. The Aztecs are just two years removed from the Poinsettia Bowl, they beat Navy 45-17 in 2010, and are looking to get to ten wins on the season with a victory over BYU.
The Cougars (7-5), an independent program, expected a better year. After a devastating 17-14 loss to No. 1 Notre Dame they never got back on track. Four of the Five BYU losses were by six points or less including a 7-6 loss in Boise to the Broncos back in early September.
Rocky Long gets the best of Bronco Mendenhall’s Cougars, 28-14 Aztecs.
Aloha Stadium: Honolulu, HI
Fresno State (9-3, 7-1), shared the Mountain West Championship, finished the regular season in the top 20 statistically on both offense and defense. Senior Safety No. 16 Phillip Thomas is the 15th first-team All-American for the Bulldogs, and comes in with a nation-leading eight interceptions. Thomas has been selected as one of three finalists for the 2012 Jim Thorpe Award.
Head coach June Jones coached for nine years on the Island. He lead Hawaii to a Sugar Bowl appearance in 2008. He resigned in 2009 as the Warriors all times leader in wins. He returns to the island leading his Conference USA’s SMU Mustangs (6-6) against an old WAC rival.
Expect the ball hawking safety for the Bulldogs to get the best of the Mustangs air assault, 28-21 Fresno.
Bank of America Stadium: Charlotte, NC
The Blue Devils (6-6, 3-5), won six of their first eight games including a 33-30 win over rival North Carolina to become bowl eligible but lost their final four games. Head coach David Cutcliffe was named the 2012 ACC Coach of the Year. This is the first bowl appearance for Duke football since 1994.
Cincinnati (9-3, 5-2), earned a share of the Big East title, winning four of the their last five games. This is the Bearcats 14th bowl game and sixth in the past seven seasons, going 7-6 all time in post-season play.
The Bearcats beat Vanderbilt in the 2011 AutoZone Liberty Bowl and are looking to showcase that they deserve to be considered to be a part of the Elite conferences in college football. Expect the Big East champ to bring it against the Blue Devils 35-14.