Texas A&M Aggies vs. Louisville Cardinals
Wednesday – December 30 – 6:00 pm CT
Nissan Stadium – Nashville, Tennessee
Records Before the Game
Texas A&M Aggies (8-4, 4-4 SEC)
Louisville Cardinals (7-5, 5-3 ACC)
No team in the history of college football may have had as tumultuous a period between their final regular season outing and their bowl contest as the 2015 Aggies. Since losing to LSU 19-7 the day after Thanksgiving, A&M has had not one but rather two five star quarterbacks depart Aggieland. The prize of the 2014 class, Kyle Allen, announced on Dec. 10 that he would be transferring effective immediately. This would lead way for 2015 class gem Kyler Murray to be primed as the future leader that all Aggie fans had hoped for. And then suddenly he was gone and is now committed to playing for the Oklahoma Sooners in 2017. Questions now abound about the job status of offensive coordinator Jake Spavital and even run all the way up as high as head coach Kevin Sumlin and just how much job security he should be feeling at the moment.
Louisville comes into this one having won five of their last six games and have put up almost identical offensive numbers this year as A&M with each averaging 28 points per game and similarly balanced totals between running and passing the ball. The Cardinals are led by freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson who had a fine first season with over 1,600 passing yards and more touchdown passes than interceptions thrown. He’s also the team’s leading rusher with 734 yards on the ground and nine touchdowns. The Aggie defense has struggled mightily at times this year to stop the run and will have to watch out for the dual threat capabilities of Jackson. Fortunately for A&M the defense has proven it can standup strong to lesser opponents this year and should be able to contain the Louisville offense that lost to all of the teams they played who had any measure of success this season.
A&M fans have gotten to see Blinn College transfer quarterback Jake Hubenak in small doses this year and are praying to God that he will help calm down the storm that suddenly surrounds the entire team. Hubenak was actually the Texas class 4A player of the year his senior year of high school in leading Georgetown to a 14-1 record falling just short in the state championship game. Then he put up some of the most ridiculous stats one will ever see at Blinn in which he threw for 4,052 yards and 47 touchdowns in only eight games. A lot of the fanbase and players have really seemed to rally around him on social media and Hubenak should be up for the challenge. The question is will Jake Spavital be up for calling a decent game or will the Aggies flounder on the offensive side of the ball yet again leaving Sumlin searching for a new OC immediately after the game.
The line on this one opened with A&M as a 3.5 point favorite but that was before all of the unexpected transfers took place. Now Vegas has Louisville favored by five. Even with all of the turmoil surrounding the maroon and white, the smart money says take the money line on A&M at +5. If the Aggies can get it done then they’ll have won their fifth straight bowl game and at least put a band-aid on a program that will have all sorts of questions to answer heading into the offseason.
Prediction: Texas A&M 24, Louisville 20