By City News Service
For the first time in a week, San Diego County was expected to see mostly sunny skies today — and that should help the crews clearing up the mess at Qualcomm Stadium.
The biggest problem at there, where the Poinsettia Bowl kickoff is set for 5 p.m., won't be solving Navy's triple option or San Diego State's passing attack, but getting to Qualcomm Stadium and back.
Even before the rain that flooded the stadium's parking lot and closed the trolley line from the east, officials recommended that fans take public transportation.
Around 51,000 tickets have been sold for the first of San Diego's two postseason college football games.
It was unclear how much of the parking lot would be available for cars. Floodwaters from the San Diego River covered much of the outer ring of the lot Wednesday morning.
The Metropolitan Transit Service added trolleys for the Green Line that goes to the stadium, but with the number of parking spaces at the stadium likely to be reduced, no more trolleys can be added to meet demand, said Judy Leitner of the MTS.
"If (fans) were planning to go early, they should go earlier,'' Leitner said.
The heavy rain also gathered on the field at Qualcomm Stadium, which is protected by a tarp. City crews worked all day Wednesday to pump the water out.
The game could come down to which team is able to adjust to the footing on what's left of the field. Both teams rely on speed to overcome their opponents — the Midshipmen on the ground and the Aztecs via the air.
Navy, 9-3, pounds the ball inside, hoping to eventually spring a big play on the perimeter.
Much of San Diego State's scoring in its 8-4 season came on long passes to speedy wide receivers Vincent Brown and DeMarco Sampson. The Aztecs are in their first bowl game in 12 years.
To San Diego State coach Brady Hoke, the condition of the field doesn't matter.
"Whatever it is, it is, and you gotta to go play on it," Hoke said at a news conference Wednesday. "The thing about football, is you both play on the same surface and you do the same things."
The parking lot was scheduled to open at 11 a.m. Off-site parking is available, for a fee, at San Diego State University, the Mission City Corporate Center on Northside Drive, the Marriott Mission Valley on Rio San Diego Drive,
and the Town and County Hotel on Hotel Circle North.
All but the SDSU site are in Mission Valley, so are potentially affected by high water.
Ticket sales will set a record for the Poinsettia Bowl, which has been played annually since 2005. The previous largest crowd was 39,129, when Navy played Utah in 2007.
The Midshipmen will have been involved in all three of the most well-attended games, and are expected to have about 20,000 supporters in the stands today.
Gametime weather should be decent as the unusually wet storm pattern that dropped several inches of rain around the county since last Friday moved out of the region overnight, according to the National Weather Service.
Preliminary seven-day rainfall totals as of late Wednesday afternoon were: 6.74 inches at the Oceanside Airport; 6.79 in Vista; 5.84 in Encinitas; 5.42 at the Montgomery Field; 4.32 at San Diego Lindbergh Field; 4.59 in National City; 8.74 in Fallbrook; 8.3 in Escondido; 6.45 in Poway; 10.04 on Mount Woodson; 7.99 at the Ramona Airport; 6.61 in Santee; 6.27 in Alpine; 18.23 on Palomar Mountain; and 10.9 in Santa Ysabel.
Today's NWS forecast called for partly cloudy skies this morning, followed by mostly sunny skies with light winds.
The mercury today was expected to top out in the low 60s along the coast and western valleys, high 50s near the foothills, mid-50s in the mountains and mid-to-high 60s in the deserts.