The Northwestern Wildcats went through a couple of ugly losses at the end of the season, and they both occurred after the team lost quarterback Dan Persa for the season. Persa's backup, Evan Watkins, is better than average behind center, but he's not Persa, and that should be an aid to a Texas Tech defense that ranks towards the bottom of the FBS in most statistical categories.
Texas Tech may have changed coached from Mike Leach to Tommy Tuberville, but the offense is still largely the same, airing it out at every opportunity. Quarterbacks Steven Sheffield and Taylor Potts have taken turns leading the Red Raider offense to a winning season for the 18th straight year for Texas Tech, which is the best such mark in the Big 12.
If Persa was available at quarterback for the Wildcats, they would have a solid chance in this one. Unfortunately, he's not, and that means that the Wildcats' offense won't make quite as many plays against Texas Tech's suspect defense as the Red Raiders will against an equally suspect Northwestern squad. It should be a high-scoring, entertaining game, but I think the Big Ten gets its first bowl blemish in this one.
SB Nation Minnesota prediction: Texas Tech 38, Northwestern 27