Does Texas Tech Have a Chance If Defense Wins Championships?

Michael PeresContributor IOctober 15, 2008

When people hear the name Texas Tech in the football world the last thing that probably comes to mind is defense.

College fans think about high scoring offenses, Michael Crabtree, or maybe even the very unique "mad genius" coach Mike Leach, but never defense. As a lifelong Texas Tech fan myself, I have spent many springs yelling at anyone who would listen that if Texas Tech even had a halfway decent defense they would be contending for a BCS bowl and possibly a national championship.

That year is now.

This Saturday is what the experts call a trap game. Texas Tech goes on the road to play an over-matched Texas A&M team before playing at Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State, then at Oklahoma. If you have watched Texas Tech over the last several years one thing the defense always has a problem doing is stopping the run.

The last time Tech played at College Station Tech fans watched as Javorski Lane got the ball in the second half, gashing the Red Raiders defense as he picked up between four and 10 yards a carry every play in the second half. Nothing is more frustrating as a fan then knowing exactly what the other team is about to do as you watch helplessly, unable to stop it.

Tech ended up winning on a last second fling to Robert Johnson, and to this day A&M's football program has taken giant steps back as Texas Tech has only moved forward.

As for this Saturday’s matchup, Tech opened as a 21-point favorite and in my eyes it will be even worse than that. Since Ruffin McNeil has taken over the defense, the Red Raiders are allowing 104 yards a game on the ground and will certainly stack the defense against Mike Goodson and the running game.

This will force Stephen McGee or Jerrod Johnson to beat them through the air and with Tech's improving secondary this game could get out of hand early.  Final score from College Station: Texas Tech 52, Texas A&M 24.

As long as Tech continues to target the high-powered offensive recruits the way they do, none of the big name defensive high school players will ever come to Lubbock, but that doesn't matter.

Under new defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil, Texas Tech hasn't turned into a menacing single digit allowing defense, but there is a new direction and a new feel around the team. Tech fans no longer moan and groan when the offense actually has to punt, but instead start screaming to get the ball back.  

Last week with Tech playing one of their worst games of the season, it wasn't the offense that sealed the victory in overtime, it was junior cornerback Jamar Wall with the pick after a pass rush forced Ganz out of the pocket.

With offensive guru Mike Leach at the helm, Texas Tech will always be an offensively oriented team that will try to outscore its opponents through the spread offense. But this year with Texas Tech sitting in the top 10 and facing a grueling stretch of games, the defense gives Lubbock hope that they might be watching their team play on Jan. 8 in Miami.