Otto Kitsinger III
Boise State headlines as bowl action reaches full swing.
The No. 19 Boise State Broncos highlight the action from the second weekend of the college football bowl season, taking on the Washington Huskies in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 22. The teams will now play twice in a row, as the two schools were already scheduled to open the 2013 season in the newly renovated Husky Stadium.
2012 marked the seventh straight season in which Boise State (10-2) posted ten or more wins. The co-champions of the Mountain West Conference boast a top-ten defense in total yards, points allowed, and opponent's pass efficiency. Washington (7-5) finished fourth in the Pac 12's North division. The Huskies' defense ranks 30th in yards allowed despite being marginal against the run, allowing 164 rushing yards per game.
The bowl weekend begins on Thursday when the San Diego State Aztecs (9-3) essentially play host to the BYU Cougars (7-5) in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Aztecs play the Cougars on their home field in a game between former conference foes. BYU holds an all-time series advantage of 27-7-1 and has the third-best defense in the country, allowing only 266 yards per game.
Friday features the Central Florida Knights (9-4) against the Ball State Cardinals (9-3) in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in Saint Petersburg, Fla. The Knights feature a solid run game behind Latavius Murray and Storm Johnson, who combine to average 115 yards per game. The Cardinals have a top-25 offense behind 1,321 rushing yards from Jahwan Edwards.
The undercard to Boise State on Saturday is the New Orleans Bowl between the East Carolina Pirates (8-4) and the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (8-4). The Pirates' passing game, led by quarterback Shane Carden, ranks 35th nationally. The Ragin' Cajuns will make a second straight appearance in New Orleans after the program's first-ever postseason berth in 2011. Louisiana-Lafayette averages 444 yards of offense per game with a balanced run-and-pass attack.
The weekend's full slate is as follows. All times are Central. Visit the SB Nation picks and schedule page for a full bowl schedule.
Thurs., Dec. 20
Poinsettia Bowl: BYU vs. San Diego State; 7 p.m., ESPN
Fri., Dec. 21
Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl: Central Florida vs. Ball State; 6:30 p.m., ESPN
Sat., Dec. 22
New Orleans Bowl: East Carolina vs. Louisiana Lafayette; 11 a.m., ESPN
Las Vegas Bowl: Washington vs. Boise State; 2:30 p.m., ESPN