Poinsettia Bowl 2012: Why BYU vs. San Diego State Is a Can't-Miss Matchup

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2012

SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 17: Harvey Unga #45 of BYU Cougars  gets tackled by Brandon Kohn #11 of San Diego State Aztecs at Qualcomm Stadium on October 17, 2009 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)
Jacob de Golish/Getty Images

Let's party like it's 2010.

That's the last time that BYU and San Diego State played each other. The two schools had a rivalry when in the Western Athletic and Mountain West Conferences together. Now the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl offers the Aztecs and Cougars an opportunity to renew the hostility.

The two schools have met 35 times before, with BYU dominating the series. It's 27-7-1 against SDSU.

Bowl season doesn't generally offer the opportunity for rivals to face off with one another. Sure you can get a big-time matchup between BCS schools, but there's generally not any ill will between the schools.

The Poinsettia Bowl has that.

If you were just looking at the numbers, this game isn't all that spectacular. With BYU's extremely good defense, it's doubtful that too many points are going to be scored.

The records aren't spectacular, either. BYU finished 7-5, with San Diego State at 9-3.

However, this is a game where all of that gets thrown out the window.

The meeting in 2010, the last time SDSU and BYU met, has become known as "Replaygate." Most college football fans are completely unaware of the game.

For Aztec fans, though, it has been an open wound that has been festering ever since BYU left the Mountain West in order to find stiffer competition.

Late in the game, Cougars running back J.J. Di Luigi fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter. The play went to video review. Much to the amazement of SDSU fans, referees determined there wasn't enough video evidence to judge it a fumble.

BYU went on to score what would be the game-winning touchdown.

It later came out that one of the Mountain West's video assistants was an employee of BYU, thus furthering the idea that it was some larger conspiracy.

That's the kind of backdrop under which this game is going to be played. You're not going to get that with any other bowl this season.

Aztecs head coach Rocky Long can talk all he wants about how everyone isn't focusing on that game, but you can count on the players, who were around in 2010, not forgetting. They'll be looking for revenge.

This could be the last time the schools meet again for at least a few years, so winning in the Poinsettia Bowl will allow one group of fans to have bragging rights for quite a while.

To find out some of the deeper connections and most-heated matchups between the Aztecs and Cougars, check out San Diego Union-Tribune's quick primer.