Saturday’s 64-21 victory over FCS Weber State earned Texas Tech its sixth win on the season resulting in the Red Raiders becoming bowl eligible for the 18th consecutive year.
Texas Tech has garnered a bowl berth each of the last 10 years and racked up a 6-4 mark in these postseason matchups (all played under Mike Leach with the exception of the 2009 Alamo Bowl where Ruffin McNeill served as interim head coach after the Leach dismissal).
Though Tech fans must feel some degree of relief that the Red Raiders have once again secured bowl eligibility, 2010 has not been the kind of campaign that leaves one with a great deal of satisfaction or confidence.
Despite the fact that the Red Raiders are 6-5 with one contest remaining (a home game vs. Houston next Saturday), have they truly earned the right to participate in the postseason, and if they are offered a bowl berth, will they be able to manage a victory?
Numerically speaking, Tech has earned the coveted sixth victory and therefore technically deserves a bowl bid if it is offered.
However, it is important to put the six-win requirement into perspective as we live in a time when there are a whopping 35 bowl games slated for the postseason.
This means that 70 of the 120 FBS (formerly Division 1) teams are going to participate in a bowl game.
Yes, a full 58 percent of all the teams who play the regular season “earn” the right to compete in the “postseason.” (All words in quotation marks are used very loosely).
Some of these games “primary choices” include provocative matchups such as the ACC No. 8 vs. the Conference USA No. 6, the MWC No. 4 or 5 vs. the WAC and the Big East No. 6 vs. Conference USA’s No. 4 team.
It doesn’t take a math wizard to figure out that if 58 percent of the 120 teams are bowl eligible not all of those teams playing will be good teams.
Texas Tech is a team that has beaten SMU, New Mexico, Baylor, Colorado, Missouri and Weber State. These teams combine (minus the Weber State team who plays in the FCS Big Sky conference) for a 28-28 record thus far in 2010.
The Red Raiders dropped games to Texas, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma who combine for a 37-19 mark.
What really tipped the scales in Tech’s favor this season is the win vs. Missouri in what was the Tigers worst performance of this year and the Red Raiders best.
Does a win vs. Missouri really equal bowl eligibility, especially given the ugly losses to Iowa State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma? Yes, the Aggies and Sooners are good teams, but those games were not even close.
The rabid Texas Tech fan in me is hungry for a good bowl bid and subsequently a great performance and a decisive victory.
But, the logical football enthusiast side of me makes me realize that the Red Raiders have struggled mightily this season, and this makes me question their bowl readiness and really the current bowl eligibility standards.
Now, I’m not saying that the proud, honorable and talented athletes who have represented Texas Tech this season don’t individually deserve to go to a bowl game, and this is not a cheap shot at Tommy Tuberville or his staff.
But does a team that finishes second to last in the division (which is the best case scenario for Tech and happens only if Texas loses to A&M; if Texas wins Tech will finish tied for LAST PLACE with Texas at 3-5 in conference play) deserve to play in the postseason?
The BCS, the bowl eligibility standards and all of college football is money driven in a way that is detrimental to what is arguably the best team sport in the nation.
Texas Tech will likely go bowling and I will root for them as loudly (or more loudly than any other college football fanatic in this great country). However, that nagging, logical, realistic little voice in my head will make me wonder how we got there, if we deserve it and what it all means.