Today's Rootability index helps the uninvested fan decide who to pull for in a contest where they have no clear interest. The game: The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) an underrated warmup for the Holiday Bowl and a proper bowl because it is named after a plant or plant product like a proper bowl game should be. ("Independence" and "Fiesta" Bowls, take note.)
ROOTABILITY FACTORS: You don't know much about Louisiana Tech, but there are a few charming factors. They are entertaining thanks to their Air Raid attack.
They should be even more entertaining by this definition thanks to their starting running back Lennon Creer missing the game due to academic issues. This should also win the hearts of those of you who failed to do homework and pay bills late. (If you were honest, 90% of you would have to pull for Louisiana Tech. Keep reading, you lying liars.)
Louisiana Tech also wins the heart of those of you who weep at Pixar films, since they have what is unquestionably the saddest mascot origin story ever. But it's not all about sorrow for the Bulldogs. They won seven in a row after a 1-4 start, including one over SEC power Ole Miss.* They got their coach, Sonny Dykes, a fat contract extension when Houston came flirting with him to replace the departed Kevin Sumlin. Ruston, the Bulldogs' home, is mentioned in both the HBO series True Blood and in Jack Kerouac's On The Road. They beat Alabama in the Mike Dubose era, which fostered the Franchione era, then Shula, and then Nick Saban. You owe Louisiana Tech a national championship, Alabama, and with 47 claimed national titles you can certainly spare one.
*Ole Miss is technically a power in that they exist, and Oxford has electricity.
That's the hard sell on Louisiana Tech, and with some reason: they should, on paper at least, get annihilated in this game by TCU. The Horned Frogs are themselves very likable, and require little resume-padding. After a loss to Baylor and eventual Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, TCU stumbled against SMU before rebounding to win their last seven. Did one of those include a defeat of Boise State at home, snapping the Broncos' home win streak and sending them out of the BCS and into the Las Vegas Bowl? Why yes it was. See? If you can't crash the BCS, you can at least ruin someone else's chances to do it, and that's almost as satisfying. (Almost.)
TCU features its own weird reptilian mascot that can shoot blood from its eyes--three feet from its eyes if sufficiently threatened. They have a giant portable horn no one asked for, but that TCU got when one of its alums said, "What my team needs is a portable foghorn with a horned frog ace painted on it."
Their coach plays guitar when not drawing up nightmarish 4-2-5 blitzes, their starting quarterback most definitely did not hang out in a public park in Superman underoos until his mother asked me to take the photos down, and Tank Carder, TCU's standout linebacker, may be entirely made of armbands at this point. There's a lot to like on the field and off, and thus the purpose of spending too much time selling you on Louisiana Tech. TCU takes little salesmanship, and is its own best advertisement.
ROOTABILITY LEAN: TCU.