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2011 Poinsettia Bowl Preview

The first of two bowl games in San Diego will be held December 21 when Mountain West champion TCU takes on WAC champ Louisiana Tech in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

These teams have never played each other on the football field.

The latest Poinsettia Bowl odds show TCU -10 and a total (over/under) of 55.5 points.

TCU

The Horned Frogs are the reigning Mountain West Conference champions again, even with Boise State in the league this year, and enter this game riding a seven-game win streak following a 56-9 home win over UNLV to end the regular season and clinch the MWC title (7-0). TCU went 5-2 against teams in bowl games, with the only losses at Baylor (50-48) and in OT to SMU (40-33). Overall, TCU was 4-1 away from home, winning the last four games outside of Fort Worth.

The Frogs rank ninth in the country in scoring offense (42 points per game) while compiling 444 yards per game (234 passing, 210 rushing). Casey Pachall runs the offense by completing 68 percent of his passes for 2,715 yards and 24 touchdowns with six interceptions, while the offensive line has allowed 13 sacks.

Josh Boyce is the top receiving target with 56 catches for 932 yards and nine TDs, while Waymon James, Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley anchor the run game with a combined 2,157 yards and 22 TDs on 6.6 yards per carry.

TCU ranks 30th in the country in scoring defense (21 ppg), surrenders 346 yards per game (220 passing, 126 rushing) and records 24 sacks while forcing 21 turnovers three of which converted to TDs (Tank Carder and Kris Gardner, three interceptions).

Four players lead this unit Kenny Cain with 67 tackles (sack, INT, fumble recovery), Carder with 66 (two picks), Tekerrein Cuba with 65 (two forced fumbles) and Johnny Fobbs with 61 (two forced fumbles, INT). Stansly Maponga has nine sacks and five forced fumbles to go with 51 tackles and two fumble recoveries.

James has a kickoff return for a TD, and Greg McCoy averages nearly 32 yards per kick return with two scores.

Louisiana Tech

The LA Tech Bulldogs are probably one of the best teams you haven’t heard much about. They won seven-straight games to end their regular season as champions of the WAC. Three of their four losses this season came against teams playing in bowl games this postseason (Houston, Southern Miss and Mississippi State) and those three losses came by a combine nine points.

The Bulldogs rank a respectable 34th nationally in scoring defense (22 ppg), and surrenders 375 yards per game (253 passing, 122 rushing) while recording 32 sacks and forcing 29 turnovers six of which were returned for TDs (Jay Dudley, Adrien Cole, Terry Carter and Javontay Crowe, five interceptions; Chad Boyd, fumble).

Cole leads the defense with 120 tackles (28 more than any teammate) and three blocked kicks, adding two sacks, an INT, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Christian Lacy has 8.5 sacks and 35 tackles, Dudley has four picks with 92 tackles and a fumble recovery, and Matt Broha has two forced fumbles, 42 tackles and 7.5 sacks.

Offensively, LTU ranks 41st nationally in scoring (31 ppg) while recording 397 yards per game (247 passing, 150 rushing). Nick Isham has completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,457 yards and eight TDs with seven interceptions in nine games.

Quinton Patton is the top receiver with 74 catches (24 more than anyone else) for 1,135 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Lennon Creer and Hunter Lee anchor the running game with a combined 1,424 yards and 13 TDs on 4.6 yards per carry.

Ryan Allen, a finalist for the Ray Guy Award as college footballs’ top punter, averages more than 46 yards per punt. Craig Johnson has a punt return for a TD, and Lyle Fitte averages 26 yards per kickoff return with one touchdown this season.

Be sure to head over to Betfirms this season for winning college bowl game predictions from our resident handicappers. There’s no better place for you to get expert college bowl picks this year!

2011 Poinsettia Bowl Free Pick: Louisiana Tech +10

TCU is a good team, but they haven’t been dominant away from home this year. Louisiana Tech has won seven straight games, and they aren’t getting very much respect from the oddsmakers. Take the ten points here.

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