The Texas Tech football outlook for the 2016 season. The Red Raiders are exactly how they’re supposed to be – and it’s going to work.
That’s it, Texas Tech. You go do what you do and be all Texas Tech.
It’s the program with the pretty head coach, the high-flying offense, no defense, and a whole lot of fun.
It’s the program that overcame the ground-and-pound – at least in theory, if not always in practice last season – Arkansas team.
It’s the program that managed to stop a losing slide by hanging 59 on Kansas State and 48 on Texas to become bowl eligible, and then got destroyed by LSU in the bowl thanks to a defense that didn’t have a prayer against Leonard Fournette.
You always got your money’s worth from this bunch, finishing second in the nation in scoring averaging 45.1 points per game, but giving them up just as fast allowing 43.6 points per outing.
Finish first in the nation in third down conversions, finish 124th in the nation in third down conversion defense. Come up with a whopping 368 first downs, give up 337.
Your offense had better not bring a knife to a gun fight – don’t even start a discussion unless you’re able to put at least 40 points up on the board.
There have been some okay Texas Tech defenses over the years, and there have been a few offenses that haven’t been up to the normal Red Raider snuff, but with two winning seasons in three years, and with the team going into the season as a dangerous X factor, the Kingsbury experience appears to be working.
Of course everyone around the program wants the defense to improve, or at least be above being okay once in a while, but as long as the offense is upholding the school’s great tradition of putting up massive numbers – and being entertaining along the way – everything appears to be fine.
But can a great offense be enough to really and truly challenge for the Big 12 title? Mike Leach was only able to come reasonably close once, and even in 2008 Texas Tech was the third-best team in the South. Kingsbury has an interesting enough mix this year, and the Big 12 is just vulnerable enough, to potentially break through.
Patrick Mahomes has the experience and talent to push the 5,000-yard passing mark if everything goes according to plan, with a decent enough receiving corps to help make it happen and breakaway speed in the backfield to balance things out just a bit.
The defense will hardly be a rock, but the secondary starts three seniors to go along with a terrific free safety in sophomore Jah’Shawn Johnson, and some reinforcements up front should help a woeful run D be just a wee bit better.
And then there’s the schedule that should be just good enough to build up the hype by the middle of the season.
Arizona State is in a total rebuilding mode and could be gettable on the road early in the season. Five of the first seven games are at home, Texas has to come to Lubbock, the Baylor games is in Arlington, and road games against Kansas State and Iowa State are winnable. If Mahomes can stay in one piece, and if the offense does what it’s supposed to do, it’s going to be another wild ride all season long.
Only this time around, being Texas Tech might not just be all about wild shootouts. There might be some major wins behind all the flash.