One program will leave Reliant Stadium on New Year's Even with a rare bowl win - Even before Mike Sherman's firing and the tumult of moving conferences, the Texas A&M Aggies have lost their last five bowl games. Meanwhile, Northwestern hasn't won a bowl game since the 1948 Rose Bowl, despite being bowl eligible seven of the last eight seasons. Both schools are looking to salvage disappointing campaigns in 2011.
Game date, time: 12:00 p.m. MT, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011
Location: Reliant Stadium, Houston, Tx.
TV channel: ESPN
2010 winner and loser: Illinois def. Baylor, 38-13
Texas A&M 2011 Highlights: The Aggies entered the season as a possible Big 12 Champion contender and ended with a 6-6 record, schizoid performances in big games that cost A&M multiple leads and a fired coach in Mike Sherman. Among the toughest losses were a four-overtime battle against K State, blown leads against Arkansas and Oklahoma State, and a 27-15 loss to Texas on a field goal as time expired on Thanksgiving night. The Aggies will move to the SEC in 2012 with a new head coach and much uncertainty.
Northwestern 2011 Highlights: The 2-0 Wildcats seemed to be on track for another strong year under former linebacker and current head coach Pat Fitzgerald until starting a five-game losing streak beginning at Army. Northwestern would rebound, most notably with a 28-25 upset of No. 9 Nebraska as part of a four game winning streak to earn bowl eligibility.
Match-Up HIstory: The Meineke Car Care Bowl will mark the first meeting between the two teams.
What To Watch For: What Texas A&M has left on offense. Senior Ryan Tannehill With Sherman gone, the play calling structure has yet to be determined under interim coach Tim DeRuyter. In addition, the Aggies' best tailback, Cyrus Gray, sat out of the Thanksgiving game against Texas with a stress fracture in his shoulder. Northwestern finished the season 11th in the Big 10 in total defense, allowing over 400 yards a game.