Big 12: Texas Tech
It was a rough first year under head coach Matt Wells.
He lost starting quarterback Alan Bowman, the defense didn’t do enough, and the Red Raiders suffered tough loss after tough loss.
On the down side, they went 4-8 with a team that should’ve been good enough to go bowling. In a season was half full sort of way, four of the losses were by three points or fewer, and they were in the games in defeats to Arizona and Iowa State.
The offensive line will need some work, but the skill spots should be strong as long as the top quarterback options can stay in one piece.
The defense that was such a problem at times should get back seven starters and brings in linebacker transfers Brandon Randle from Michigan State and Christian LaValle from Utah State. In all, there could be as many as 17 of the top 20 tacklers returning.
The schedule should help the cause with UTEP and Alabama State to open up, and with four of the first five games against teams that didn’t go bowling last season.
Win home games against Arizona, West Virginia and Kansas – or at least two of them – win a few of those tight games that went the wrong way last year, and getting to at least six wins isn’t asking for the world.
With Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma coming to Lubbock, being a disruptive force in the Big 12 race isn’t asking for a ton, either.