by CFP Staff
December 31, 2011
Texas A&M won the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas 33-22 to hand Northwestern its 9th straight bowl loss. The Wildcats' only bowl win came in their first-ever bowl appearance, the 1948 season Rose Bowl. The Aggies' first bowl win since 2001 ended their own 5-bowl losing streak. They were just 2-12 in their previous 14 bowl games.
Talk about a game with multiple storylines - new bowl name, fired head coach at Texas A&M, two of the nation's longest bowl losing streaks, 63-year bowl drought for Northwestern, last game in the conference for the Aggies, and A&M's first game since offensive lineman Joe Villavisencio was killed in a car crash.
The Texas Bowl became the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas after Meineke switched its sponsorship from Charlotte to Houston.
Texas A&M announced December 1 that Mike Sherman wouldn't be retained as head coach following a 6-6 season and a 25-25 overall record in 4 years at College Station. After the Aggies went 9-4 in 2010, there were high expectations for 2011 as they began the season ranked 8th by the sportswriters and 9th by the coaches. CollegeFootballPoll.com's Congrove Computer Rankings projected the Aggies as an 11-1 team overall and 8-1 in the conference, but after outperforming the computer's forecast in 2009 and 2010, the team greatly underachieved this year as it blew numerous double-digit halftime leads.
Texas A&M improved to 14-19 overall in bowl games. The Aggies' last bowl win also came here in 2001 with a 28-9 victory over TCU in the then-named GalleryFurniture.com Bowl.
Northwestern owns the nation's longest bowl losing streak, both in number of games (9) and longest period of time between victories (63 years).
Tim DeRuyter, Sherman's defensive coordinator, was interim head coach for Texas A&M in the bowl game. But he will be leaving now to begin his head coaching career with Fresno State.
The Aggies head to the SEC in 2012 with a new head coach in Kevin Sumlin who led Houston to a 12-0 record before falling to Southern Miss in the Conference USA Championship game.
They will also need to find a new quarterback as senior Ryan Tannehill, who played wide receiver his first two-plus seasons in College Station, leaves as the only player in NCAA history to record more than 4,000 yards passing and 1,500 yards receiving, as well as the only player to record a 400-yard passing game and a 200-yard receiving game.
Northwestern was bowl eligible for the school-record fifth consecutive season under head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
58.3% of CollegeFootballPoll.com voters picked Northwestern to win, but the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com projected the Aggies to come out on top by 13.62 points.