Texas Tech Red Raiders – 2012
If there was one team that should have been celebrating the departure of Texas A&M it should be the Red Raiders. This eliminates one more team in the way of trying to get into the top 3 of the conference. Talent is nearing an all time high and recruiting has stabilized the last two years into the typical recruiting rank range in Lubbock.
During the Leach ‘glory year’, and it was just the one big 2008 season that was outside expectations of talent and schedule, recruiting was dragging. That 2008 was a product of good coaching, but also the solid classes from 2004-2006. This year the 2007 and 2008 classes are finally being cleared off the decks and I expect the Red Raiders to be a big surprise for college football in 2012 and very competitive going forward in the Big 12.
Quick note on the Red Raiders: Texas Tech can be as big of a dark horse in 2012 as they want to be. They are underrated due to the performance of the last 2 years, but have a base schedule that started at 10-2. It was 9-3 after the second adjustment of schedule and 7-5 after the coaching effect. Tech is one of 6 teams to be under .500 last year but have a 80%+ chance of .500 or better in 2012. So I say that they easily get there and even a 7-5 season is disappointing.
This team has been range bound in recruiting for nearly a decade. 8 of the last 10 classes have been between #20 and #40. Even in the Leach years, as I would expect, there was no huge up-trend in recruited talent. However, this is still a team that has huge potential behind Oklahoma and a terribly under coached Longhorn program.
This team get back 10 starters on defense and one kicker. That is good for nearly one full win based on past returning starter numbers. But the real issue is coaching.
Tuberville has been fine at home posting a zero game coach effect in two years. It is on the road that is killing them with a -5 games. That’s 2.5 games each year in a 12 year schedule. It has to change now. The biggest game in the first half of the season for Tech is in Ames. That is a game they should win anytime, anywhere. Go to 4-0 as predicted and this team is looking at 4+ win potential.
Red Raider Schedule
I was a slight bit surprised when the Texas Tech schedule to was kicked out. The BIG 12 has a number of teams that all fall right next to each other in talent. WVU, Oklahoma State, TT and Baylor. The schedule is very much in favor of the Red Raiders. It’s only disadvantage is coaching, or a deeper issue within the athletic department as I have seen with other schools that under perform their talent.
It may sound funny, but this Red Raider season my hinge on the first four games. The three out of conference games to start the season should be win. win. win. No question and anything less will be demoralizing for players and fans alike. Then a bye week to prepare for Iowa State. There is no question that Texas Tech has better players, but the Cyclone coaching staff is tough (see coach effect rankings) . The Red Raiders should be no worse than 3-1 at this point before losing to Oklahoma.
The meat of the schedule kicks in after the Sooner loss. The home game with the Mountaineers is going to strongly favor WVU, but this is a winnable game for Tech. The next two with TCU and Kansas State are both likely to favor the home team. I expect Tech to go 2-1 in that stretch of games with the most likely wins being against West Virginia and Kansas State.
The last 4 should be loss, win loss, win. The Longhorns and Cowboys should beat the Red Raiders and Tech should answer the bell beating Kansas and Baylor to round out a 7-5 season in 2012. I can see a top 25 team in the shadows as a 9-3, although unlikely is more possible in Lubbock than most other cities in college football.
- Dave Bartoo, The CFBMatrix & your Anti-Homer Follow @cfbmatrix