College football on TV is better than no college football on TV, right?
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, Friday, 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Why it exists: A couple years after the Texans came into being, the city of Houston decided it needed to something else to justify having built Reliant Stadum.
The teams: Texas Tech and Minnesota
How Texas Tech got here: The Red Raiders had a pretty interesting season. They started off with three of the worst non-conference opponents they could find, which is by tradition there, and promptly got blown out by Oklahoma in their second Big 12 game. However they were the first team to knock out West Virginia, and that caused them to soar in the polls and started a very brief Heisman campaign for Seth Doege. Turns out it was the first of a five-game losing streak for WVU, but no one knew it at the time. The Red Raiders would end up losing four of their last five. Tommy Tuberville then hopped on the first plane out of town, even if it was headed to Cincinnati.
The last time Tuberville voluntarily left a team, his 1998 Ole Miss Rebels won the Independence Bowl over Texas Tech. That bowl win was coached by David Cutcliffe, who just lost to Cincinnati last night in the Belk Bowl. I don't know if that means anything, but it's almost kind of spooky.
How Minnesota got here: The Golden Gophers squeaked into bowl season in about the least convincing way possible. Their best non-conference win was over a 7-5 Big East team (Syracuse), and they needed three overtimes to beat 2-11 UNLV. Their two Big Ten wins came against 6-6 Purdue, who fired its coach, and Illinois, who went 0-8 in conference play. It's really difficult to point to much of anything that the team does well, as its in the mid-to-lower part of the Big Ten in most categories. If you had to pick something, it'd be pass defense. While that's handy for this game, the Gophers didn't exactly face a lot of great passing teams. Sure it got to six wins, but it also lost to Iowa. Woof.
College football fans care because: Minnesota's Jerry Kill is the coach who most looks like his team's mascot, and we might catch a glimpse of the dreamy new head coach of TTU, Kliff Kingsbury, in a booth interview.
SEC fans care because: You get to scout out what Kingsbury has to work with as he leaves A&M.
Watch this game if...: You have nothing better to do. With Tech having a new staff already, but one that's not coaching this game, and Minnesota just not being very good, this has a great chance of being a sloppy snoozer.
cocknfire's pick: Texas Tech 38, Minnesota 13
Line: Texas Tech by 13