Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas
Minnesota (6-6) vs. Texas Tech (7-5)
Dec. 28, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
About the Gophers: Minnesota is making its first postseason appearance since 2009 and looking for its first bowl win since 2004. This isn’t a great Minnesota team and it really struggled against better competition in Big Ten play. The Gophers managed to score more than 17 points in a conference game just once and struggled to a 2-6 conference record after winning four nonconference games. The lack of scoring – coupled by suspect defense – will be difficult to overcome against a Texas Tech team that is among the nation’s best at lighting up the scoreboard.
About the Red Raiders: It’s probably fair to say Texas Tech underachieved this season, especially after starting the year 6-1 and smacking then-undefeated No. 5 West Virginia. Offense hasn’t been a problem (most of the year) for Tech, but consistency has. The defense should find success against a Minnesota team that has struggled on offense this season, but the offense will be key if the Red Raiders want to win Friday night.
Key number: 52
Texas Tech allowed 52 points in four of its final six games, which contributed to a 2-4 second half of the year.
The breakdown: This game is a total mismatch. Texas Tech’s offense should end this game quickly, especially since Minnesota doesn’t have the offensive firepower to keep up. The Gophers lost their leading receiver A.J. Barker, who quit the team after alleging mistreatment by coach Jerry Kill, and even with him, the Gophers struggled to generate consistency. The only way this game isn’t over by halftime is if Texas Tech stops itself.
Frank Schwab: Texas Tech 42, Minnesota 14
The 2012 Minnesota Golden Gophers should be a prime example for anyone who argues there are too many bowl games. Minnesota was 3-0 after beating UNLV, New Hampshire and Western Michigan - a FCS team and two bad FBS teams. After a solid home win over Syracuse, the Gophers went 2-6 - and lowly Illinois was one of those wins. But, their final record was 6-6 and they were allowed in a bowl. Texas Tech will show they don't really belong.
Graham Watson: Texas Tech 45, Minnesota 10
If Texas Tech’s offense shows up Friday night, Minnesota won’t be able to keep up. This game should be a blowout and over by halftime.
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