Brian

Football Paradise: 2013 College Football Bowl Games in San Diego

College football bowl seasons is one of America’s great holiday traditions. San Diego hosts to two games each December: ‘America’s Most Exciting Bowl Game’, the National University Holiday Bowl, and the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl both call QUALCOMM Stadium home.

The Holiday Bowl pregame festivities include a 100-yd flag

The Holiday Bowl pregame festivities include a 100-yd flag

This year, the games are separated by just 4 days. The Poinsettia Bowl will be played at 6:30 on Dec. 26, and the Holiday Bowl kicks off at 7:15 on Dec. 30. That means a college football junkie could have an ultimate getaway in San Diego.

The burning question now is which teams will be invited to enjoy the legendary hospitality rolled out by the San Diego Bowl Game Association, and televised nationally on ESPN. Here’s a preview.

UCLA vs Baylor in the 2012 Holiday Bowl

UCLA vs Baylor in the 2012 Holiday Bowl

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

This is the most uncertain of all potential matchups. The Poinsettia Bowl will feature teams from the Mountain West Conference, and the Mid-American Conference. The Mountain West’s most likely teams are Utah State, San Diego State, or Boise State.

The big question mark is with the MAC, where Northern Illinois, Toledo, Ohio, Buffalo, Ball State, or Bowling Green are all possibilities. If Northern Illinois can win their final two games, they’ll be unbeaten and headed to the BCS. Should the Huskies happen to trip and suffer their first loss, the Poinsettia Bowl would love to welcome them.

National University Holiday Bowl

The Holiday Bowl is in the final year of a contract welcoming Big 12 squads against a Pac-12 foe. Starting in 2014, the Pac-12 will square off against a Big 10 opponent. For the 2013 game, the Big 12’s most likely teams are Texas, Texas Tech, or Kansas State. The Pac-12 would likely be represented by USC, Arizona State, or Stanford.

The Baylor Bears won in '12, who will hold the Holiday Bowl trophy in '13?

The Baylor Bears won in ’12, who will hold the Holiday Bowl trophy in ’13?

Regardless of who is selected, San Diego promises a first-rate pair of games as well as the best series of events anywhere in the bowl landscape.

The streets of downtown San Diego will come alive with “America’s Largest Balloon Parade.” The Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade features marching bands, floats, entertaining drill teams and more giant character balloons than any parade in the country. That’s right, even more than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

More than 100,000 streetside spectators will line the one-mile bayfront parade route and join a national television audience.

After you open your gifts, load up the football fans, and make your way to San Diego for Bowl Season!

Brent Bernasconi

Top Things to Do in San Diego: December 19-23, 2012

Aztecs - Poinsettia Bowl

If you have already finished all of your holiday shopping, below are out top things to do this weekend.

1. San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Aztecs - Poinsettia Bowl

Will the hometown Aztecs take home the Poinsettia Bowl championship?

The hometown San Diego State University Aztecs will take on the Brigham Young University Cougars at Qualcomm Stadium during the San Diego’s first bowl game of the season (Holiday Bowl is next week). To kick things off, both team bands will invade Gaslamp Quarter on December 18 for the free Five Star Tours Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March.

Location: Qualcomm Stadium – 9449 Friars Road, San Diego, CA 92108 (map)
Date: December 20, 2012
Time: Kick Off at 5:00 PM
Cost: $45-$65
> Find out more about the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

2. Holiday Pops – A Celtic Celebration

San Diego Symphony Orchestra

The sound of the holidays really pop with the San Diego Symphony

Join the San Diego Symphony for a quick visit to the Emerald Isle while never leaving San Diego. The orchestra will be joined by award winning all-Ireland Fiddle champion Eileen Ivers for a night of traditional and Irish holiday favorites including The Holly Tree, Don Oiche Ud im Beithil (One Night in Bethlehem) and Hark, The Herald Angels Sing and more.

Location: Copley Symphony Hall – 750 B Street, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: December 21-22, 2012
Time: 8:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: $20-$85
> Find out more about Holiday Pops – A Celtic Celebration

3. An American Christmas at the Hotel del Coronado

Lamb's Players' An American Christmas

Step back in time at the Lamb’s Players’ An American Christmas

Travel back in time over 100 years for a Christmas feast and celebration performed by the Lamb’s Players Theater inside the Hotel del Coronado’s ballroom. The night will be filled with music, dance, stories, laughter and a 5-course holiday meal.

> More Holiday Theatre in San Diego

Location: Hotel del Coronado – 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118 (map)
Dates: December 17-26, 2012
Time: 6:30 to 9:30 PM
Cost: $120-$165
> Find out more about An American Christmas at the Hotel del Coronado

4. Dive-In Theatre: “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”

Movie screening at the Pearl Hotel - Things to Do

Lounge by the pool with Dive In Theatre at the Pearl Hotel

Join the Pearl Hotel family along with the Griswolds for the holiday classic (at least it is in my family :-)), “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Lounge in the pool or a cabana with a warm drink hand while you laugh as Sparky (Clark Griswold) tries to create the perfect family Christmas.

Location: The Pearl Hotel – 1410 Rosecrans St, San Diego, CA 92106 (map)
Date: December 19, 2012
Time: 8:00 to 10:00 PM
Cost: Free
> Find out more about Dive-In Theatre: Christmas Vacation

5. Jay Pharoah from Saturday Night Live!

Jay Pharoah at the American Comedy Company - Things to Do

Looking for something not holiday related? Then head to The American Comedy Company to laugh your tookus off with Jay Pharoah from Saturday Night Live. (The San Diego Travel Blog cannot guarantee that holiday jokes will be omitted :-)).

Location: The American Comedy Company – 818 B 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (map)
Dates: December 20-22, 2012
Times:
– Thursday at 8:00 PM
– Friday and Saturday 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM
Cost: In Advance – $24. At the Door – $27
> Find out more about Jay Pharoah from Saturday Night Live!

> Browse more great things to do on the San Diego Event Calendar

Know of any other great events going on in San Diego this weekend? Let us and others know in the comments below.

Brent Bernasconi

Get Ready for the Poinsettia and Holiday Bowl Games in San Diego

Fireworks - Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

During the month of December, San Diego hosts not one but two bowl games at Qualcomm Stadium. While the bowl games will play out on the Jack Murphy Field, there will be plenty of family friendly and free events leading up to each game.

San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Trophy - San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl

Who will be this year’s Poinsettia Bowl champions?

Since 2005, the Poinsettia Bowl has pitted a Mountain West Conference team against various opponents including Army, Navy and teams from the Pac-10 Conference. This year, the hometown San Diego State University (SDSU) Aztecs will take on the Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougars at Qualcomm Stadium.

Five Star Tours Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March

Battle of the Bands - Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March

Two bands march down 5th, only one will leave champion of the Gaslamp March

Two days before kick off (December 18, 2012) at 6:00 PM, head down to the Gaslamp Quarter for the Poinsettia Bowl Gaslamp March. Marching bands and spirit squads from SDSU and BYU will march down 5th Avenue from opposite ends playing holiday classics. When both squads meet up at market, the showdown begins with a Battle of the Bands. After the battle is over, the bands will continue their marches down 5th.

Location: Qualcomm Stadium, 9449 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92108 (map)
Date: December 20, 2012
Kick-Off: 5:00 PM
Cost: $68-$150
> Purchase Your San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl Tickets Now

Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Fireworks - Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl

Catch the excitement at the Holiday Bowl

For 34 years, the Holiday Bowl has brought top ranking teams from conferences including the PAC-10 and Big 12 conferences to San Diego. This year the University of California, Los Angeles Bruins will play against the Baylor University Bears for the coveted Holiday Bowl trophy.

Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade

Marvel at America’s largest balloon parade along the Embarcadero

Before heading to the Holiday Bowl in the afternoon, spend the morning along the Embarcadero for America’s largest balloon parade starting at 10:00 AM. In addition to the parade, the festivities include the 16th annual Wienerschnitzel Wiener Nationals17th Annual Bumble Bee Foods 5K Run/Walk and a free Family Festival.

Location: Qualcomm Stadium, 9449 Friars Rd, San Diego, CA 92108 (map)
Date: December 27, 2012
Kick-Off: 6:45 PM
Cost: $74-$268
> Purchase Your Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl Tickets Now

Grab a Bite Before the Bowl Games

Looking to fuel up with some delicious food before heading to one of the bowl games? Here are a few good options close to Qualcomm Stadium you should check out.

Getting to the Bowl Games

Parking

If you plan on driving to Qualcomm Stadium, give yourself plenty of time to snag a parking spot. Cars are $20 and RVs are $60. VIP parking for $60 is limited, so call 619.283.5808 to purchase. There will also be overflow parking options.

> Find out more Parking at the Poinsettia Bowl and the Holiday Bowl

Public Transportation

This is your best option for getting to Qualcomm Stadium without having to worry about parking. Just pick up a special day pass at a trolley station and take the Green Line to the stadium. There will be a special events trolley that runs from Downtown to the stadium. If you are coming from North County, take the Coaster to the Old Town Trolley Station and hop on the Green Line from there. Get times and trolley station locations at www.sdmts.com.

> Find more outdoor holiday fun in San Diego