S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia

San Diego State Aztecs (8-4) vs. Navy Midshipmen (9-3)

Dec. 23, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

There is plenty of local interest in this game, and there should be plenty of national interest, too. The Aztecs are making their first bowl appearance since 1998, while Navy is making its eighth straight bowl appearance. San Diego State gets to stay at home in Qualcomm Stadium, while there is a huge Naval base in San Diego that is sure to get plenty of fans in the seats for the Midshipmen.

San Diego State finally has the balance on offense coach Brady Hoke has wanted since he took over last season. Ryan Lindley has thrown for 3,554 yards with 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. San Diego State also has one of the best receiving duos in the country in DeMarco Sampson and Vincent Brown. They each have over 1,000 yards and have combined for 17 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Mountain West freshman of the year Ronnie Hillman broke the conference record for rushing yards by a freshmen with 1,304 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Navy has had struggles against the pass this season, so that is going to be one of the biggest keys going into the game. As for the Midshipmen, their triple option is running much better now than it was at the beginning of the season. Quarterback Ricky Dobbs was pressing early on because of high preseason expectations, and fought through ankle and groin injuries. Alexander Teich has stepped up in the run game with Vince Murray slowed down because of injury. Navy has won three straight with the all-important game against Army this Saturday.