Pat Fitzgerald has a clear connection to this class, and it's evident in his many "we need to win this one for the seniors" speeches.
This could be a fitting end for the seniors — a bowl game win for the program's winningest class — but this game is more about the future than the end.
The bowl game against the Aggies is a chance for Kain Colter and the underclassmen to put on a showcase, and it's an opportunity to finally build momentum into the next season.
Because despite all this team loses after the bowl game, there is a lot of talent coming back. The bowl game provides a preview of what we'll see in 2012.
More specifically, it's another preview of Colter, who has a chance to make Cats fans all but forget about "the strongest quarterback in America."
On all accounts, Colter hasn't gotten enough credit for what he's done at Northwestern, and while he's been in Persa's shadown nationally, he has turned heads all around the Big Ten.
He may not have a "ColterStrong" PR campaign, a Heisman campaign or any billboards, but Colter has been impressive across the boards for the Cats this season. He lined up as both a wide receiver and quarterback at times this season and led his team in rushing. He was a triple threat unlike any other player in the Big Ten this year.
While Colter still has a long way to go, he has shown some encouraging signs this season. He has improved with nearly every game and proved that he can win in big games, taking over from Persa in the second quarter against Nebraska.
It's tough for anyone to win at No. 10 Nebraska; Colter proved he could.
However, some people are still questioning whether Colter can excel as a quarterback at NU. Some think he would be better suited as a wide receiver, given the promise he's shown at that position this year.
But Fitzgerald remains committed to keeping Colter at quarterback and what better way to prove himself one for time, than on a national stage in Houston?
Mot of the media attention will undoubtedly be on Persa and, of course, the infamous bowl losing streak.
However, this game is more of a showcase for the future than anything. And for Colter, it's one last preview before he takes center stage next September.