In 2009, the Poinsettia Bowl announced that it had extended its agreement to continue to feature the Mountain West's second bowl-eligible team until at least 2013. In addition, BYU has a three-year deal to play in the Poinsettia Bowl should they not qualify for a Bowl Championship Series game.
This was the thirty-sixth meeting between these two teams. BYU leads the all-time record 28-7-1. The last time they played was in 2010.
The Cougars' season followed a specific pattern for the first ten games, winning their first two games, losing their next two, winning their next two, losing their next two, and again winning their next two. After defeating the Idaho Vandals to bring their season record to 6–4, the Cougars accepted the second invitation of the 2012–13 NCAA Bowl season to the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl. BYU finished the regular season with a 7–5 record.
The Aztecs are on a seven-game winning streak, with their last loss coming from a game against Fresno State on September 29. After defeating the Wyoming Cowboys, the Aztecs accepted an invitation to the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl. San Diego State finished the regular season with a 9–3 record.
This will be the Aztecs' second Poinsettia Bowl, following the 2010 game where they defeated the Navy Midshipmen by a score of 35-14.