Defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter will coach A&M in the bowl game, leaving the Aggies offense as something of a mystery.
"It's a huge advantage for A&M, no question about that," Fitzgerald said. "(But) they can't change that much in a month."
Northwestern jumped 9-3 Penn State in the Big Ten bowl hierarchy and held off 6-6 Purdue and 6-6 Illinois to earn the selection. Heather Houston, executive director of the bowl, cited the relationship-building efforts of NU athletic director Jim Phillips and the Wildcats' strong turnout for last season's game at Rice.
Fitzgerald said the Wildcats are "ecstatic" to be playing in Houston, home to five NU players.
Quarterback Dan Persa joked that the rest of the team has gotten tired of hearing the Houston Five (Demetrius Dugar, Will Hampton, David Nwabuisi, Christian Jones and Venric Mark) brag about their roots.