clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bowl Watch - Poinsettia Bowl

Or the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bull Run will provide you travel information on the Bowl Games we hope UB gets invited to.  The first Bowl Game is the Poinsettia Bowl which was formed to feature a Military Team and a Team from the Mountain West.  Army had a guaranteed spot in this game if the Black Nights could reach Bowl Eligibility of 6 wins. The MAC will be back in 2017 and 2019.  The MAC could be back sooner with Navy, Army, and BYU are not eligible the next three years.   The Poinsettia Bowl schedule is as follows:

2014 - MW vs. Navy
2015 - MW vs. Army
2016 - MW vs. BYU
2017 - MW vs. MAC
2018 - MW vs. BYU
2019 - MW vs. MAC

Army sits at 3 - 8 with it's remaining game Dec. 14 against Navy.  With Army not eligible, the MAC has secured a tie-in and opens the door for either Buffalo, Ohio, or Toledo.  I found this interesting tweet from the Poinsettia Bowl twitter feed:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Watching <a href="">@PrideInThePack</a> at <a href="">@ToledoFB</a> while talking on Bowl Game Radio. <a href="">@PoinsettiaBowl</a> implications! Call in w/ your Qs: 877-792-1090</p>&mdash; Poinsettia Bowl (@PoinsettiaBowl) <a href="">November 21, 2013</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

The History of the Bowl:

The game rose from the ashes of the Holiday Bowl starting in 2005.  The game is played every year in San Diego and this years contest is December 26 at 6:30 PM.  Let me play this scenario out in my mind.  "Hey Honey, I am going to miss Christmas with the 5 kids to go to San Diego to watch a football game."  I will be watching this game in Buffalo. The second place team in the Mountain West gets an automatic entry.  The Mountain West is comprised of New Mexico, UNLV, Air Force, San Diego State, Fresno State, and Nevada.  The pundits are calling for Fresno State to take this spot!

Some local knowledge on weather.

You could swim in the pool if it is heated (check with hotel). As mentioned, the ocean is too cold. Also, if the high temp is 66F that means it would be below that for most of the day, plus there could be a breeze, so a jacket could be needed.

Travel from Buffalo


First of all, this is Buffalo.  Do not think of flying direct.   The best option is to leave Monday December 23 at 3:25 in the afternoon traveling with USAir (Flight 4233  and Flight 669) and arriving in San Diego at 8:54.  You do have to connect at the worst airport in the history of man or woman with a three hour layover in Philadelphia.  As a person who flies every week, I try very hard to avoid PHL.   I fly exclusively with USAir because of the number or flights out of Buffalo and also to hoard points.  The plans are not as cool as JetBlue and the attendants are hit or miss.  The one thing is USAir is consistent and getting to San Diego on time should be a lock without weather issues.  Return flight is Sunday late morning and for the same cost a red-eye getting in early Monday am.

The Best ticket I could find is $578.59. If you want to massage the dates and times, the ticket increases up to $687.


Google Maps has you leaving University at Buffalo Stadium and arriving at 9449 Friars Road, San Diego.   The mileage is 2,599 miles and estimating 37 hours (38 hours with current traffic conditions!)  If UB does take this game and a party is going to drive, please contact me so we can set up webcam and live blog.  It would be an awesome adventure.   Just please do not attempt this: Modern Cannonball Run

Cost to drive.  5,500 miles is 183 gallons at 30 mpg.  Average Cost per gallon is $3.55 = $649.65 for gas alone.  I wold recommend a rental car.  Thrifty and Dollar have a weekly special of $280 (plus fees and taxes)   If you can find three more adventurous individuals that would cut the cost down to $250 plus meals.


I will admit that I am a Hilton Hotel brand loyalist.  In my early travel days I was more budget restricted and stayed at Holiday Inn Express and the likes.  The problem was you never knew what condition the property would be.  One week the hotel is brand new and the next week I would just curl up on the chair in the corner and try not to get bit or touch anything.

Economical Hotel  -  $62.00 Per Night



Reviews on Trip Advisor.

What the Guests have to say:

The room was clean and comfortable. The Property is kept very clean with a friendly and helpful staff. The restaurant has very good food at reasonable prices. I was very happy since it was something that was picked sight unseen over the internet. If I make any more tris to San Diego I would be happy stay there again.

The room was great, the pool was warm enough for swims in even 65 degree weather, and people who can work mass transit systems easily can from there.

Above Average Hotel -  $96.00 Per Night


The Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa

I have personally stayed at this hotel.  I am a business traveler so I do not hang out at hotels other than to sleep or have a night cap at the bar.  This hotel was beautiful and the pool was amazing.  The reviews all speak glowingly on the hotel but are mixed on the service.

What the Guest have to say:

We stayed at the Hilton for 3 nights. The service we received was excellent. It was so relaxing there.loved sitting in cosy cane chairs having a wine.we did the zoo and sea world while we were here.was really central!!!

I don't like the people who worked there except the reception when checking out. He was nice and warm. Others I should say sorry. The hotel is beautiful and the location is good. I went there with my family and no chance to do spa.

Hotel for more than football.  Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines.  Home of Torrey Pines Golf Course.  $139.00 Per Night (excluding golf)


Both Hilton hotels via

If anyone is the group is also a golfer then you have to play Torrey Pines golf course.  If you are not a golfer, do not stay here.  The hotel states that Tee Times are available and special packages for room and golf are available.  This is a public course but Hilton has reserved times.


Luxury Traveler - $593 Per Night
The Four Season is already sold out as well as L'Auberge Del Mar.  I have stayed in a Four Seasons property only twice and both times it blew me away.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="">@FakeDannyWhite</a> I notice that Four Seasons San Diego is sold out during the Poinsettia Bowl. Anything you want to tell me?</p>&mdash; J. David Brand (@jdavidbrand) <a href="">December 2, 2013</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

The Grand Del Mar looks to be what an upscale hotel should be.  I recomend the Palazzo Suite.  The hotel did win the Travel +Leisure World's Best Awards 2013 so the hotel has this going for it.


What the guests had to say: (not a ton of reviews on Orbits. I guest if you are going to book this hotel, you are not trolling Orbits for best deal.)
SIMPLY THE BEST.   (did you notice the all caps ala The Old Quinner)
You get to the gate and they ask for your name. Once you get to the hotel, they already have the bellhop ready to take your bags to your room as they have already checked you in.
If you are going to party and only need a place to sleep hopefully not in prison?  A Hostel in the Gaslamp Quarter.,  (See more on the Gaslamp Quarter below on where to party!)
Hostel Booking

VIP $118.75 Your Poinsettia Bowl ticket comes with access to the VIP Tailgate Party. Guests will enjoy unlimited food, beer and wine as well as private performances by the college bands and cheerleaders! Located in Stadium Parking Lot: Section F-1 - 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m

Ticket Master Best Available $90.75 Ticket cost ranges from $40 to $170



Where to Eat:
As soon as you get of the plane, head straight to El Indio Mexican Restaurant.   This restaurant will have you looking cross-eyed at your next Super Mighty next time in Buffalo,  I found this treat and stop every time I land in San Diego.
El Indio Restaurant
Fish Tacos - Thought that I would hate them.  They may still suck but here they are worth the trip.  Upscale beautiful location.
George's Modern Cafe
Time for a great burger and suck up some So Cal Surfing vibes.  Relax, have a beer or 17, and eat a righteous burger or two.  It is vacation, no one is here to judge.
Beer and real Japanese Noodle.  Only open until 5 PM.   Just go!  Trust me!
OB Noodle House
More Mexican food served at a Mexican Deli.  Breakfast and lunch only.
Talavera Azul

Here is a list from a Buffalo Spree type magazine for best of the best 2013.  I noitced my fav's are not on the list?

San Diego best of the best 2013

Where to Party in San Diego.

It all starts and ends with the Gaslamp Quarter.

The Gaslamp Quarter extends from Broadway to Harbor Drive, and from 4th to 6th Avenue, covering 16½ blocks. It includes 94 historic buildings and are loaded with restaurants, shops and nightclubs.  You can spend the entire week just on this strip.

Have drinks or some apps at a Tilted Kilt.  They are a sponsor of the Bowl and I personally know the founder of the company.   I would leave wife's and girlfriends at the pool.  The Basement in San Diego is where you are going if you want to experience a Vegas style club with bottle service, go go dancers, and dancing.  Looking for a beach experience than try Cardiff Beach Bar and Tower.  I recommend the bottomless mimosa/bloody Mary brunch or beers by the waves late at night.

One thing you have to do while in San Deigo?

You Must Hit The Beach

No matter what time of year you visit, you gotta make your way to the beaches: it's what personifies the San Diego lifestyle. Watch the waves roll in from a bluff or on the sand. Soak in the beach life all along the coast, and watch the sunset. Best bet: Make your way to Mission Beach and the Belmont Park rollercoaster - if anything says SoCal, this is it.