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First Look: Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

Minnesota will take on Texas Tech in the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas to be contested on Dec. 28, at Reliant Stadium in Houston.

The matchup sees two sides that started the season hot only to fizzle out before all was said and done. Both will look to this game as an opportunity to salvage something from a frustrating year.

The Essentials

Date: Fri., Dec. 28

Game time: 9:00 PM ET

Location: Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX

Minnesota – Record: 6-6, 2-6 Big Ten ATS 5-7-0 Streak: Lost 2 Bowl Record: 5-9 (.357)

Texas Tech – Record: 7-5, 4-5 Big 12 ATS: 6-6-0 Streak: Lost 2 Bowl Record: 12-21-1

Road to the Bowl of Texas: Minnesota

Losers of six of the last eight, Jerry Kill's Minnesota side has spluttered into the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.

Minnesota surprised a lot of Big Ten followers by opening the season with four straight wins, a feat they shared with only Ohio State and Northwestern. Whilst the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Nebraska had faltered early, the Golden Gophers were sitting pretty with an unbeaten record.

Any elation was short-lived. With conference play kicking off in Week 5, Jerry Kill’s side found itself on the wrong end of a 31-13 beating by Iowa. That game was the first of three consecutive games in which the Golden Gophers would put just 13 points on the board. All three of those games led to defeat.

Things looked up briefly in Week 9 as the Gophers managed to string together 44 points and a home win over Purdue. The following week Michigan held Minnesota to 13 points (again!) and another loss.

A trip to Illinois – the worst team in the Big Ten this year – in Week 11 saw Minnesota win a sixth game, securing Bowl eligibility. Losses to Nebraska and Michigan State ultimately closed out a season that was anything but impressive. To say the Golden Gophers staggered into College Bowl Season would be an understatement.

Road to the Bowl of Texas: Texas Tech

Behind quarterback Seth Doege, the Texas Tech Red Raiders have put up some gaudy offensive numbers this season.

Whilst Minnesota was struggling to put points on the board, Texas Tech was lighting up scoreboards everywhere it went.

The Red Raiders averaged 37.8 points per game, good enough for 16th in the country, but even more impressively racked up a massive 361.2 passing yards per game. Only Marshall (365.1 YPG) threw more yards per contest.

This high-octane offense was certainly advantageous to start the season. Texas Tech was victorious in six of its first seven games. During that span, the Red Raiders failed to score more than 40 points in just one game, a 41-20 loss to Oklahoma.

But that pace couldn’t last. Over the next five weeks, the Raiders’ average dropped below 30 points and with it came four losses. A 41-34 win over Kansas split a pair of two-game losing streaks to close out the season. A final record of 7-5 did not reflect the promise and talent that had been on display early in the season.

With the regular season wrapped up, Texas Tech found itself facing another challenge. Head coach Tommy Tuberville accepted the head coach job at Cincinnati, after Butch Jones moved on to Tennessee. Without a head coach in place, offensive line coach Chris Thomsen will take on the position on an interim basis to guide the team to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas game.


Texas Tech and Minnesota have crossed paths just once before. The two met in Tempe, Ariz., on Dec. 29, 2006, at the Insight Bowl (remodeled this year as the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl).

Texas Tech made history that day, coming back from a 31-point deficit to take the game 44-41 in overtime. Those 31 points marked the largest comeback in Division I Bowl history.

Both sides missed out on Bowl action last season due to substandard records. Minnesota finished 3-9 while Texas Tech finished 5-7.

The Red Raiders were victorious in their last Bowl game – the Ticket City Bowl on New Year’s Day in 2011 – knocking off another Big Ten opponent in Northwestern. The school has now won two straight Bowl games and seven of the last nine.

Minnesota has fared less well. The last time the school played a Bowl game was on New Year’s Eve in 2009. The Golden Gophers fell that day to Iowa State in the Insight Bowl, making it four straight Bowl losses.

History doesn’t favor Jerry Kill’s side; the Gophers have gone 0-3 against Big 12 opposition in Bowl games, and have lost a further three games to teams that have subsequently moved to that same conference.

Opening Lines

Bookmakers opened with Texas Tech as favorites. The spread opened at 12.5 points. The over/under opened at 57.

Stay tuned to BettingSports.com for more on the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas ahead of kickoff on Dec. 28.

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