SAN DIEGO — The Poinsettia Bowl between No. 16 Texas Christian and Louisiana Tech isn’t merely a matchup of teams happy to be in a postseason game.
Tonight is a showdown of conference champions that will give the victor an eight-game winning streak to carry into 2012.
TCU (10-2), which handed Boise State its only loss, would like to have that momentum when it moves from the Mountain West to the Big 12.
The Horned Frogs had hoped to be playing in a third straight Bowl Championship Series game, but two losses prevented that from happening.
“We started slow in the beginning of the season, and I told people if we could get through the early part that we’d become a better football team, and that’s kind of what we’ve become,” said coach Gary Patterson, whose Horned Frogs beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl last season.
“This is one of the games that’s important for us for the simple reason that the seniors can win 47 ballgames, we have a chance to go into next season with an eight-game winning streak going into the Big 12, so there’s a lot of positives for us in this ballgame.”
With one condition, of course.
“I believe there’s no such thing as positive unless we win,” Patterson added.
TCU’s winning streak started with a 27-14 victory against San Diego State on Oct. 8 at Qualcomm Stadium, which will host the Poinsettia Bowl.
Western Athletic Conference champion Louisiana Tech (8-4), whose most famous alum is Terry Bradshaw, lost four of its first five games. The Bulldogs lost their opener by two points to Southern Mississippi, lost by one point to Houston and by six points in overtime to Mississippi State. They also had a midseason quarterback change, going from Nick Isham to Colby Cameron, who’s from Southern California.
“In a lot of ways, this is the biggest bowl game in school history,” said Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes, who has gotten the Bulldogs to just their sixth postseason game. “It will be a bit of a measuring stick for our program and where we are headed. We’re playing one of the best programs in college football. It’ll be a challenge for us, but we’re looking forward to the opportunity.”