It was Monday afternoon that the Poinsettia Bowl announced San Diego State (9-3, 7-1 MW) accepted their invitation to play BYU (7-5) on December 20th at Qualcomm Stadium.
"We're pretty excited around here about things that have happened over the last few weeks, and pretty excited about going to the bowl game," SDSU head coach Rocky Long explained. "I think that all of us, I know the staff and a lot of the players, are happy to be staying here because there is no better place to be."
SDSU is looking forward to the opportunity of playing at home in front of the Aztecs faithful.
"I actually think it makes the experience maybe a little bit better because some of the travel issues when you go on the road to a bowl game involve a lot of coordination," Long said. "Being at home where you don't have all of that probably makes it easier on a whole lot of people."
Easier especially for the SDSU fans as it will be less expensive.
For their opponent BYU, Long admitted that he hasn't yet been able to watch any film yet.
So what are the early impressions of the Cougars?
"I've seen them on TV a couple times, and they look awfully big and strong," Long replied. "I think their defense is ranked in the top 10 in a lot of categories. Since they were in the league for a long time and I was in the league for a long time, they look like a normal BYU team to me. Great, big, strong, mature, all of those things."
Extra Practice Time
Rocky Long called the "extra practice" resulting from a bowl game as the number one benefit because it helps build a program.
"When you get a bowl bid, the kids have a really positive attitude about things," Long said. "So they work hard in the weight room, they work hard on the practice field, and all the majority of the guys that aren't going to play in the bowl game, it is another spring practice."
The Aztec practices will be an hour to an hour 15 minutes long, then a 30-minute scrimmage all the way until the week before the game.
"All the guys that don't play very much or the guys that have been on the scout team or have been redshirted, they'll scrimmage," Long said. "There is only one way at getting good at playing football and that is playing football."
San Diego State will have around 15 practices between their last game (vs. Wyoming) and the bowl game (vs. BYU) which equates to three days a week.
"That's like spring practice," Long explained. "And in spring practice, you're not preparing for the opponent, you're preparing your team for next year. That's one of the reasons the emphasis on winning the bowl game. There are more important things, and that's developing the team for the next season."
SDSU excited for the Poinsettia Bowl
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