Yesterday, news broke that the Texas Tech-Texas State game, set to be played in week two, was on the block to be broadcast by the Longhorn Network.
Yes, the network affiliated with the University of Texas; the one that no one in the Big 12 wants to be associated with and the network that helped force Texas A&M to pick up their ball and head to the SEC. As Red Raider Sports has reported, Texas Tech is none too pleased about the prospects of appearing on Texas' channel.
Tech learned of this possibility several days ago, and according to the source, is "adamantly opposed to playing on the Longhorn Network" and is "putting serious consideration into canceling the game and playing an 11 game schedule" this fall.
That's big talk from the Red Raiders, and it makes their position pretty clear; they don't want to be on the network, in any way shape or form. The issue here is that, because the game is being played at Texas State, they are not in charge of the broadcasting rights; the responsibility falls on the Bobcats and their conference, the WAC.
The WAC has already allowed UT-San Antonio to broadcast games on the Longhorn Network and the LHN is recognized as one of ESPN's "primary" properties for their contract's purposes.
What that means is while the Red Raiders can dispute the game's broadcast location all they want, the fact is it will boil down to how the Bobcats and WAC want to play this. Their only true recourse, in an ideal situation, is to say, "move the game or we are not going to play it."
Unfortunately for Texas Tech, they are not exactly in the position to draw that firm line in the sand. Hopefully the posturing and complaining will be enough to get Texas State and the WAC to appease them, because if push comes to shove, the Red Raiders need this game in a bad way.
Can Texas Tech afford to cancel the date with Texas State?
While technically they are allowed to cancel the game—they would just have to pay the Bobcats a buyout—the Red Raiders and head coach Tommy Tuberville are in desperate need of the win in San Marcos.
Look at their schedule: Northwestern State, Texas State, New Mexico, Iowa State, Oklahoma, West Virginia, TCU, Kansas State, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Baylor. That's not a lot of room for opportunity, especially for a team that desperately wants to return to a bowl game in 2012.
The three non-conference games are required to get the Red Raiders halfway to their goal of bowl eligibility and then the fun starts; Kansas is the lone Big 12 win that you can truly pencil in for Tuberville's team. Baylor loses several key pieces so there is an opportunity, Iowa State is a team that returns talent and is a year removed from a 41-7 pasting of Texas Tech in Lubbock. Getting to six wins is going to be a challenge with the Big 12 schedule.
In short, the Red Raiders cannot afford to lose this game. Sure, playing on the Longhorn Network is an unappetizing proposition for Texas Tech; but is it worth jeopardizing the possibility of going to a bowl? I think not, and while we watch to see if the WAC and Texas State buckle from the posturing, we'll see how badly Texas Tech wants to get to the postseason.