Though the Texas A&M Aggies have already fired their coach, Mike Sherman, they are decided favorites in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas on the NCAA football betting lines against the Northwestern Wildcats in what should be a great game to kick off the bowl action on New Year’s Eve.
This was most certainly a season that many Aggies fans would think was lost. Their team went just 6-6, and it lost a number of games that it probably feels that it should have won, such as clashes against Texas, Kansas State, and Missouri. Instead, the threat is there to finish below .500 in a Big XII conference that isn’t nearly as good as the SEC, which A&M is headed to next season along with the Missouri Tigers. The business at hand this week is going to be the final game in the career of QB Ryan Tannehill. He threw for 3,415 yards and 28 TDs against 14 INTs on the campaign. The converted receiver also has over 110 receptions in his career for over 1,500 yards and 10 TDs, but after last year’s solid ending to the season, there were certainly higher hopes for this final campaign. The offense did put up some nice numbers though, ranking in the Top 20 in America in total yards, passing, rushing, and scoring, and the end result was nearly 40 points per game on the board on average. The problems came defensively, where ranking No. 113 against the pass in the land proved to really hurt for a team whose team leader in INTs was Trent Hunter with just two on the campaign.
Northwestern had a nice close to its season, winning four straight games, including a trip into Lincoln against the Nebraska Cornhuskers before getting beaten by the eventual Big Ten runners up, the Michigan State Spartans in the regular season finale. The potential was really there for success this season, as four of the team’s five losses came by 14 points or fewer. As opposed to years past, the offense was a bit more balanced this year in spite of the fact that arguably the team’s best running back, RB Mike Trumpy missed basically the whole season injured. QB Kain Kolter started some games in place of the injured QB Dan Persa, and he is still running some Wildcat as well. He led the team in rushing with 589 yards and eight scores, and he had 40 receptions for 446 yards and three TDs as a receiver to go with 656 passing yards and five scores. Persa, who has battled injuries all year, threw for 2,167 yards and 17 TDs against seven picks, and he completed a solid 74.3 percent of his passes. Watch out for WR Jeremy Ebert, who was clearly the team’s best receiver with 71 grabs, 1,025 yards and 11 TDs.
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas Keys to the Game: A&M is going to have to figure out how to slow down this passing attack of Northwestern. The Wildcats were mistaken prone this year, and they often shot themselves in the foot, so they’ll have to take care of the football and avoid foolish penalties to stay in front of the down and distance. The Aggies will probably get their points, but in the end, they have to prove that they really want to be playing in this de facto home game of a bowl contest. If not, they could become prime targets for yet another big time upset in the bowl season.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.