Famous Idaho Potato Bowl 2013 Preview: Buffalo Bulls vs. San Diego St. Aztecs

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

Both of these teams have experienced some good fortune to get where they are. Which one of them comes out of this game with their luck intact?

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Suggested slogan: The biggest thing to happen in Idaho since the last Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

The teams: Buffalo Bulls and San Diego St. Aztecs

How Buffalo got here: By holding onto the ball. While the +15 turnover margin might seem to indicate a great degree of luck -- and likely does indicate some degree of luck -- a closer look at the numbers reveals that the Bulls created some of their own fortune. Buffalo turned the ball over just 12 times in 2013, tied for fifth-best in the nation in that category. Meanwhile, they tied for 13th in the number of turnovers by their opponents (27). That's fortunate, but not as much as it might look on first glance. And when Buffalo won, it won big; only one defeated opponent came within 20 points of the Bulls. The exception was a five-overtime, 26-23 win over Stony Brook that featured a scoreless third and fourth overtime. Buffalo generated 349 yards in a game that went to five overtimes. (The Bulls also lost some lopsided games, most notably the 70-13 drubbing against Baylor.) The offensive star was Branden Oliver, who ran for 100 yards in seven straight games (starting the week after he narrowly missed the mark with 90 yards against UConn).

How San Diego State got here: If Aztecs fans don't mind me saying this -- and even if they do -- this feels a little big more like a season coated in pixie dust. San Diego State played in four overtime games this year, and won three of them. The Aztecs started off the season losing to Eastern Illinois out of the FCS. By three touchdowns. All but one of their victories was decided by a single score -- and the exception to that was a ten-point win at New Mexico State, which currently holds a 2-10 record. But one of the few things San Diego State does well is stop the run, with a defense that allows just 132.9 yards a game. If they can continue that streak, the Aztecs have a chance to pull off the win here. Adam Muema has some success moving the ball on the ground, though his season has seen lows like 11 yards on 12 carries at UNLV and highs like 233 yards on 27 carries against New Mexico. (The Aztecs were trailing 24-7 at halftime at UNLV and never got within 18 points after the 11:36 mark of the third quarter, so running was out of the question.)

College football fans care because: It's your last chance to see the blue turf in 2013.

SEC fans care because: Just remember that there are no Golden Flakes without potatoes.

Watch this game if...: You have nothing else to do.

Bottom line: Buffalo might be a little bit lucky to be here, but only a great deal of fortune has San Diego State eligible for the postseason at all. There's not a lot of reasons, besides MWC > MAC (which is not as clear-cut a case this year as it usually is), to think that the Aztecs can win. Buffalo 45, San Diego State 20

Line: San Diego State by 2

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