While this game is not actually a bowl of potatoes, it should be more exciting than one! Just trust me on this. Played on Boise State's Smurf Turf, this used to be a WAC tie-in, but with that conference no longer in existence, we will instead see teams from the Mountain West and Mid-American Conferences.
Date and time, ET: Dec. 21 at 5:30 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Location: Boise, Idaho
Stadium: Bronco Stadium -- capacity 36,387
Tickets: Find available seats here.
Last year's score: Utah State 41, Toledo 15
Last year's attendance: 29,243
Last year's TV rating: 1.9
Last year's payout for each school: $750,000
Team with the most all-time appearances: Boise State (4)
Team with the most all-time wins: Boise State (3)
San Diego State (7-5, 6-2 MWC)
Through three weeks of San Diego State’s 2013 season, it would be understandable if you gave up on the Aztecs’ bowl chances entirely. Rocky Long’s team lost its first three games, with a blowout 40-19 home defeat to FCS Eastern Illinois preceding losses to Ohio State and Oregon State.
San Diego State finished non-conference play with a close win over lowly New Mexico State, but that was all the momentum they needed heading into conference play. The Aztecs defeated Nevada in overtime and Air Force in regulation before losing in overtime to a ranked and undefeated Fresno State squad. After that, San Diego State rattled off four straight conference wins, including impressive victories over San Jose State and Boise State before a season-ending loss to UNLV.
The Aztecs sport a trio of dangerous offensive weapons, led by quarterback Quinn Kaehler, who threw for 17 touchdowns against nine interceptions. Running back Adam Muema finished the regular season with over 1,000 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, and wide receiver Ezell Ruffin also topped the 1,000-yard mark.
Last bowl game: 2012 Poinsettia Bowl vs. BYU, 23-6 loss
Last year without a bowl: 2009
All-time bowl record: 2-5
Head coach's bowl record: Rocky Long, 1-6
Buffalo (8-4, 6-2 MAC)
It’s hard to find a tougher two-game stretch than Buffalo’s first pair of games this season -- a 40-20 loss at Ohio State and a 70-13 loss at Baylor. The Bulls responded nicely after the predictable losses, however, rattling off seven straight wins and setting themselves as legitimate MAC East contenders into November.
The Bulls suffered a mid-November loss on the road against Toledo in a shootout, but still had a chance for the division title later that month, playing first-place Bowling Green (who, funnily enough, suffered their only loss to the 7-5 Rockets). Buffalo lost that game, 24-7, giving the Falcons the division crown and the right to face Northern Illinois in the MAC title game.
Buffalo is led by its defense, ranking second in the conference by giving up 22.3 points per game. Their star player is linebacker Khalil Mack, who is expected to be a high first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft -- his 75 career tackles for a loss ties him with Jason Babin for the most in NCAA history.
Last bowl game: 2009 International Bowl vs. Connecticut, 38-20 loss
All-time bowl record: 0-1
Head coach's bowl record: Jeff Quinn, 1-1