Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Texas Tech Red Raiders season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Texas Tech Red Raiders
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Texas Tech Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
Kliff Kingsbury is being Kliff Kingsbury. The problem is that the Big 12 is being the Big 12.
Yeah, the Texas Tech offense remains terrific as the Kingsbury era rolls on, but at this point, cranking up 475 yards per game barely gets you in the door in the high-octane league.
Back when the Red Raider attack was fresh, exciting, and unstoppable, it spent years falling out of bed and throwing out somewhere between 470 to 500 yards per game on an annual basis without a sweat. Other offenses came and went, but Texas Tech has been remarkably consistent.
The conference brought in West Virginia and high-powered offensive head man Dana Holgorsen. Baylor went to a whole other level of silly for a while, TCU made a fundamental shift that worked great, and Oklahoma State and Oklahoma have maintained a high level of production that’s been every bit as good – if not better – than what the Red Raiders can produce.
To borrow from the great Charlie Weis, Texas Tech’s decided schematic advantage isn’t so decided in this league.
Yeah, the Big 12 offenses were terrific back in Texas Tech’s one truly amazing season – averaging 531 yards per game back in 2008 – but it took something that otherworldly just to get into the discussion for big things. And even then, Oklahoma’s offense was better.
Maybe there would be more success if this was an X-factor type of attack in the Big Ten West, or even with what Mike Leach is doing in the Pac-12 North, but in the Big 12, it’s been a struggle.
Kingsbury is doing what he’s supposed to in terms of generating the yards and the production from his teams, but for all the big things and all the fun, it shouldn’t take a stunning upset over Texas on the final weekend of the regular season just to get bowl eligible.
And now, even with some improvements on defense, finishing third in the conference on offense doesn’t get the job done when Oklahoma is averaging over a 100 more yards per game, and Oklahoma State almost 90 more.
There can’t be so many clunkers. Three points at home against TCU is never going to be okay, and it’s never, ever going to be kosher to score 13 points in Lubbock against Iowa State.
But this season, that offense might end up taking a wee step back, and for the Kingsbury era to keep on rolling, the defense will have to do its part.
The Red Raiders get back just about everyone on a defense that’s making baby-step improvements. It’s not the embarrassment it was a few years ago, with the 419 points allowed the fewest in four seasons. This year, it’s not going to be Alabama, but it should be the strongest D in the Kingsbury era.
It’s going to be a different type of Texas Tech team, with the basics and the infrastructure in place for the first time in a long time, but the star starting quarterback quarterback is … ?
The top receivers are … ?
It’s Texas Tech. It’ll hit the 470-500-yard mark by the end of the season no matter who’s plugged into the key spots.
But too many Big 12 teams will hit that, too.