15* CFB Saturday Undervalued Underdog on Northwestern +10
Texas A&M vs. Northwestern,
12/31/2011 12:00 EDT,
Score: 33 - 22
Point Spread: +10/-120 Northwestern
Northwestern should not be catching double-digit points against Texas A&M Saturday. The Wildcats will be the more focused team heading into this one with a lot more to play for. I like their mental state of mind much better than the Aggies.
The Aggies' 1-5 record in games decided by seven points or fewer resulted in a 6-6 regular season and the firing of coach Mike Sherman on Dec. 1. With Sherman fired, these players have nobody to lead them. They also know they'll be moving to the SEC next season, which is another distraction.
Northwestern wants to erase the sour taste of an 0-8 bowl run. That includes a 3-game bowl losing streak under current head coach Pat Fitzgerald, all in heartbreaking fashion. The Wildcats lost in overtime in the first two, then fell 45-38 to Texas Tech in the TicketCity Bowl on New Year's Day.
Fitzgerald would like nothing more than for senior quarterback Dan Persa to help end the drought as he makes his bowl debut in his final collegiate start. Persa, the nation's leader in completion percentage (74.2), became the starter last year but had to miss the bowl game due to an Achilles' injury that also sidelined him the first three games this season.
"This will be a great way to put an exclamation point to his career," Fitzgerald told the school's official website. "Get this monkey off our back, get the win and really springboard the next year and put a great bow to the careers of a senior class that is really special." Persa threw for 2,163 yards in nine games with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions, ranking 10th in the nation in passer rating at 160.3.
Texas A&M is 0-6 ATS after playing a home game this season. The Aggies are 0-6 ATS after a game where they committed 4 or more turnovers over the last 2 seasons. Texas A&M is 0-8 ATS after a game with a turnover margin of -2 or worse over the last 2 seasons. This makes for a 20-0 system backing the Wildcats. Take Northwestern Saturday.