Belk Bowl preview: Texas A&M vs. Wake Forest

Sizing up the Belk Bowl between Texas A&M (7-5) and Wake Forest (7-5):

Time, TV: Dec. 29, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN

Site: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

Analysis

How much does Texas A&M care?

In a transition from Kevin Sumlin to Jimbo Fisher, will the team show up against Wake Forest and bring the energy needed to end a lost season on a high note?

Even if it does, does it matter?

Wake Forest is fun on both sides of the ball, making up for the lack of next-level talent with a offense that takes chances and a defense that plays like its hair is on fire getting into the backfield.

After opening 4-0, the team lost four out of five. But a wild 64-43 win against Syracuse clinched a bowl and a great home win against North Carolina State cemented the season as a winner.

Texas A&M’s season wasn’t as enjoyable.

It started off getting hit with an improbable comeback, with Josh Rosen leading UCLA to a 45-44 win. There were plenty of nice wins and a 27-19 loss to Alabama was a fight, but the Aggies kept having the same problems. They couldn’t beat Alabama or LSU or Auburn. Worse, they were blown out by Mississippi State.

It has been an OK season, but A&M was tired of OK seasons. So out went Sumlin and flew in Fisher, but before that, assistant Jeff Banks will take over. This game will let the new Aggies coaches see who wants to keep fighting. Considering South Carolina was the only bowl team that Texas A&M beat, a victory in this bowl would be the team's biggest win of the season.

The last five Belk Bowls have been double-digit blowouts. But with all the fun playmakers on the field, this one should break the trend.

Players to watch

RB Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M: After opening with a 203-yard, two-touchdown day against UCLA, Williams had one 100- yard day the rest of the way, averaging 4.4 yards per carry.

WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M: Kirk led with 58 catches for 730 yards and seven scores. The elite punt returner is electrifying when he has the ball.

QB John Wolford, Wake Forest: The senior threw 25 TD passes with six picks and was second on the team with 615 rushing yards and 10 scores.

DE Duke Ekiofor, Wake Forest: The 6-4, 275-pounder had 6 1/2 sacks and 14 1/2 tackles for loss as a tone-setter for a dangerous defensive front.

Who wins?

Wolford and the pass rush will get the Atlantic Coast Conference a win against the SEC.

Pick: Wake Forest, 31- 27

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