Minnesota vs. Texas Tech: 2012 Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl 12/28

Last Updated: December 28th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Meineke Car Care Bowl of TexasThe 2012 Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl picks are going to be difficult to make, as the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Texas Tech Red Raiders are set to do battle with one another in a Big Ten vs. Big XII battle. Check out our Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl predictions and the keys to the game for Minnesota vs. Texas Tech.

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2012 Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl: Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
2012 Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl Location: Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
2012 Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl Date/Time: Friday, December 28th, 9:00 p.m. (ET)
2012 Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl Television Coverage: ESPN, Watch ESPN

Key #1: The Minnesota secondary has to stand firm
There’s no doubt whatsoever that Texas Tech is going to come out and throw the ball all over the place. QB Seth Doege will put the ball in the air at least 40 times over the course of the Meineke Car Care Bowl. However, the strength of the Minnesota defense is in its secondary, as the team is allowing just 178.5 yards per game this year. The problems? No one on the team has more than two picks, and the mass majority of the teams that the Gophers faced this season just weren’t all that good. Most of the teams in the Big Ten just don’t have great passing attacks, and this is clearly going to be the best passing game that the team has faced all year long. However, if the Golden Gophers can figure out how to at least slow this unit down, there is going to be a solid chance to at least hang around in this game.

Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
Minnesota Golden Gophers +13
Texas Tech Red Raiders -13
Over/Under 55.5
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Key #2: Whomever starts at quarterback for Minnesota has to keep the ball moving
The Golden Gophers ranked 108th in the country in passing this year, and a lot of the problem stemmed from the fact that the quarterback position has been a nightmare. QB Max Shortell, the team’s leading passer is transferring from the school, and the only wide receiver that had more than 19 catches this year, WR AJ Barker has left the program as well. The question is still whether it will be QB Philip Nelson or QB MarQueis Gray will end up taking the snaps in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Nelson is clearly the future of this program, though the frosh only threw for 735 yards and six scores against seven picks. Gray is the man that has been here over the course of the last four years. He only threw the ball 56 times and threw for 464 yards and five TDs to go with 331 rushing yards and five scores. He’s probably the man that deserves to get the nod as the senior leader of this team, but neither option is really all that great. Whomever it is that is taking the snaps is going to have to get the ball moving on a regular basis against a fantastic offense if there is any hope for winning this game.

Key #3: The Red Raiders have to keep themselves together amidst problems
The Red Raiders are anything but sunshine and rainbows at this point. Head Coach Tommy Tuberville did everything that he could to get away from Lubbock, and he finally got out. The team has already suspended three players for this game, and most of the coaching staff is going to be cut and pasted together. That really could leave this club in a bit of array. We have already seen a bunch of teams this year in the bowl season that have fought adversity with a new, interim coaching staff, while others (we’re looking at you, Western Kentucky) have cracked under the pressure in the most critical of moments. This isn’t the sexiest bowl game in the world, and it is an opponent that is easy to overlook. If the Red Raiders come to play this game, they should become easy winners. If they don’t though, they are going to be in a heck of a lot of trouble when push comes to shove.

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Posted in College Football - Last Updated on Friday, December 28th, 2012 @ 7:30 am (EST)
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