Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 12/29/11

This wasn’t they had in mind when this college football preseason began. Texas A&M and Northwestern had the talent and expectations for much more than a 6-6 record, and a berth in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas. Last year, it was just the Texas Bowl so congrats to the marketing department on lining up a sponsor for this year’s version of the bowl played in Houston, home of the NFL Texans franchise.

Spoiler alert! I’m going to predict the theme of the halftime show- TEXAS!

Northwestern will wear the purple home jerseys but they’ll be in a hostile environment. Houston is just 90 miles from College Station, TX. And they recently hired a new coach, Kevin Sumlin, away from the University of Houston. So as they say in “Friday Night Lights” “Texas Forever, 6.”

And with the Cats being big underdogs, I have to say “Clear Eyes. Full Hearts, CAN’T LOSE!”

Texas A&M Analysis:

Pictured above is Minka Kelly in a cheerleader outfit from FNL, but pictured above that is A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, with his way-too-hot-for-him model fiance Lauren Ufer. (see more pics of Ufer’s “work” here) outkicking his coverage as much as it seems very soon, as he’ll get an NFL contract.

Tannehill isn’t that good, and he had a very disappointing senior season, but he’ll still get picked way higher than he deserves to be drafted this April. Especially now that Matt Barkley of USC decided to stay in school. If I were Tannehill, I would give a fiscal kickback, a percentage of the top of his signing bonus to Barkely, since he helped him make that money by improving his draft stock.

As for the Aggies, Tannehill wasn’t the only disappointment. They fired their Coach Mike Sherman,  the pass defense finished 110th in the nation, and they suffered some key injuries that blew everything up. This wasn’t the proper way to say goodbye to the Big 12 conference.

Northwestern Analysis:

NU Coach Pat Fitzgerald has pointed how much the Chicago media brings up the current 63-year bowl win drought. And he’s right, they certainly do ring that bell. And the media is 100% correct in doing just that; 1949 is a long time ago. And an 8 game bowl losing streak is a rather large postseason albatross for the program.

Part of it comes from being a “victim of their own success.” NU Athletic Director Jim Phillips is among the best in the business when it comes to getting his program to “jump up in the bowl hierarchy.” At least three times during his four year tenure in Evanston, he’s gotten his Cats into a much better bowl than they were projected to. He’s sold the program right, but it means they face a more talented, heavily favored opponent. This year is no different.

WR Jeremy Ebert has a 1,025 yards receiving on the season, and he’s likely the team MVP as very few Cats receivers hit a grand for a season. NU’s signature win was a decisive upset at the then #9 Nebraska Cornhuskers. If they play like that on New Year’s Eve, and the Aggies play like they did for much of conference season, then NU will take this one.

Prediction (Picks record 39-19): A&M 48, NU 41

Dan Persa versus the 110th ranked pass defense. A&M’s 19th ranked run offense versus the ‘Cats 84th ranked run defense. Sounds like a lot of points to me! Bowl games in the Pat Fitzgerald era have been like my experiences with women who sport “tramp stamps.” Fun and exciting, but ultimately the outcome is rather negative.

Three years, three games where the Wildcats entered as underdogs by more than a touchdown. And three losses by a narrow margin. They were just one possession, one play away from victory in all three instances. This year will be no different.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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