A year after perhaps the most successful season in Texas Tech history, the Red Raiders have their work cut out for them if they want any chance to even have a sniff of what they did last year. However the offensive line should be good, which should help newcomer Taylor Potts, the running backs are strong with Baron Batch and Aaron Crawford, and the linebackers are some of the best in the Big XII.
Game One: vs. North Dakota
The Fighting Sioux don't really stand a chance in this one. This is functionally a warm-up scrimmage game so that Potts can get timing down with his receivers and hope not to get hurt. Tech will put up around 50-60 points and they will get on with their lives preparing for Rice the next week.
Prediction: Tech 56—ND 7
Game Two: vs. Rice
Rice lost a lot of talent last year, their four-year starting quarterback Chase Clement, Jarrett Dillard, and James Casey (to the NFL). These are players that don't come along to often, let alone all at the same time for Rice. They will be starting lots of inexperienced players and things should not bode well for the Owls.
Another interesting stat, Rice was 111th in total defense last year, 110th in pass defense, 80th in sacks against, and 83rd in sacks. Look for Tech to rack up the yards without pressure and get pressure on the new Rice quarterback.
Prediction: Tech 52—Rice 10
Game Three: at Texas
This is the game of the year in some people's eyes for Texas Tech (I beg to differ and believe the OU game is, and is actually winnable). Regardless, Texas is angry from last year, they are at home, they have lots of returning starters, in other words, this could get ugly. Good thing for Tech? Texas still has no running game, which is where they usually get gashed.
Tech lost both of its starting defensive ends to the NFL, their best safety (Darcel McBath) also to the NFL, and lack depth. They will get tired and most likely fail to put pressure on McCoy. Another good thing for Tech? Texas ranks 104th in pass defense. They will be able to move the ball. Texas lost its best pass rusher, Orakpo, to the NFL, and Tech returns three of five of its linemen.
This should be entertaining, for a while. Look for Tech to keep it close in the first half but probably lose it big in the second half. If Tech doesn't turn the ball over there is always a chance.
Prediction: UT 55—Tech 35
Game Four: at Houston
The University of Houston is on the rise this year and should look to compete for the C-USA title. Behind a great quarterback that almost no one has heard of, Case Keenum, the Cougars will compete, especially at home. They have a sophomore stud Bryce Beall at running back who racked up over 1,200 yards last season. Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if they won. However, Tech just has more talent on both ends of the ball than U of H.
Good news for Tech? U of H was 88th in turnover margin, 91st in pass defense, and 71st in sacks allowed. Tech should be able to get pressure, force turnovers, and score a lot. Tech will have problems getting rush on the Cougars though because of all the losses on the defensive line, but U of H lost some starters on the offensive line so it should be interesting.
Prediction: Tech 45—Houston 38
Game Five: vs. New Mexico
This should be another warm-up game for Tech as they get ready for the rest of their Big XII play. New Mexico was 45th in total defense last year, but when they played a top offense, Tulsa, gave up 56 points. Historically New Mexico plays terrible in Lubbock and hasn't won a game this decade.
New Mexico doesn't turn the ball over, and doesn't allow sacks. Look for Tech's linebackers to have good games, racking up the tackles and stuffing the run. They were 110th in passing offense last season, so Tech will probably play with eight in the box.
Prediction: Tech 38—New Mexico 13
Game Six: vs. Kansas State
Last time Kansas State came to Tech? Dwayne Slay went Brian Dawkins on the Wildcats forcing two fumbles and, let us not remind Allan Everidge.
Josh Freeman is gone, not that I thought he was very good to begin with, and Bill Snyder is back but he has his work cut out for him. He has a good group of receivers, but not much else.
Bad News for K-State? They were 117th in defense last year. Look for them to give up points, and a lot of them. They were also 97th in turnover margin, Tech should be able to force a lot of turnovers, especially with a new inexperienced quarterback.
Prediction: Tech 49—K-State 17
Game Seven: at Nebraska
Another revenge game. A game Tech should have lost last year, and the last time they played in Lincoln, Nebraska fumbled a game-ending interception and Tech won the game. Nebraska looks to be much improved from previous years, and playing in Lincoln never hurts. They have a great pair of running backs, solid receivers, but will need new quarterback Zac Lee to step up and take Joe Ganz' spot.
Bad news for Tech? Nebraska was 15th in passing last year and Tech lost a lot in pass rush and pass defense. Nebraska should put a lot of points on the board. Nebraska was 15th in sacks, look for them to test the offensive line of Tech.
Good news for Tech? Nebraska has three new linebackers and was 107th in turnover margin. I look for this to be worse with a new quarterback at the helm. If Tech can force turnovers I think they will win, but Tech needs Jamar Wall to step up as a defensive playmaker.
Prediction: Tech 42—Nebraska 38
Game Eight: vs. Texas A&M
This has become one of the nastiest rivalries in the nation. And why not? A&M gets mad that Tech beats them year in and year out, and they are in rebuilding mode. Jerrod Johnson (who I think is a bad version of Vince Young) leads the Aggies who look to rebound from a bad year. The Aggies will need to improve their defense if they want any chance of winning.
Good news for Tech? Aggies were 114th in total defense, 95th in passing defense, 115th in sacks allowed, 100th in sacks, and 104th in turnover margin. I don't expect these stats to be drastically different. This means Tech should have plenty of time to get the ball down the field and Potts will have ALL DAY in the pocket. Unless they cheap shot him like Harrell.
Good news for the Aggies? Tech's defense is weaker, and they moved the ball well last year in first half against Tech. They could keep it interesting if they don't turn the ball over. They have emerging receivers so if Johnson can be accurate then they might have something working there.
Prediction: Tech 49—Aggies 14
Game Nine: vs. Kansas
This game could spell big trouble for Texas Tech. Kansas plays Tech well every year, they return Desmond Briscoe and Todd Reesing, and they have a strong secondary. Tech however has beat Kansas the last three times they have played, all have been very close though. Kansas might have a edge in talent, with lots of returning starters on both sides of the ball.
Bad news for Tech? Kansas is eighth in passing, 40th in sacks, and 45th in turnover margin. Reesing doesn't turn the ball over, which is not good for Tech as they will need all the chances they can get.
Good news for Tech? Kansas was 97th in sacks allowed and 114th in pass defense. Also they lost a few defensive linemen so the pass rush shouldn't be as good. This will be a shootout.
Prediction: Kansas 35—Tech 31
Game 10: at Oklahoma State
Every year Tech travels to Stillwater, it's a good game. Last time, Crabtree dropped a game winning pass. The year before that Bobby Reid (yes, Bobby Reid) led the Cowboys to a win in a very disappointing season. The time before that, Tech trailed 48-21 going into the fourth, but lost in a comeback that fell short because of an interception 51-49.
This game should be no different. Both teams are stacked on offense, neither team has much of a defense. OSU was 93rd in total defense, Tech was 77th. It will be one of the best games in the Big XII for sure, and OSU will want revenge after getting blown out in Lubbock. Returning Robinson, Bryant, and Savage though should put OSU over the edge in this one.
Prediction: Tech 45—OSU 52
Game 11: vs. Oklahoma
Tech has won each of the last two games against Oklahoma in Lubbock. They will be looking for revenge after their national championship hopes were dashed in Norman. Oklahoma returns a whole host of people: Bradford, Greshiam, Murray, and good wide receivers. However, they did lose a lot of their offensive line. Bradford will figure out what a rush looks like.
Good news for Tech? Not much, its a) in Lubbock and b) maybe they can get a pass rush.
Other than that they will have their work cut out for them Because it is in Lubbock, I think they have a chance. Potts will be seasoned by then, Batch will have a big game, and the defense always plays well at home. If Tech can jump on them early OU could be in for a battle.
Prediction: Tech 31—OU 28
Game 12: vs. Baylor (In Arlington)
Last year, Tech came out flat against Baylor after having just lost to Oklahoma. I don't expect the same thing this year, however, Baylor has something that Tech has never been able to solve, a running QB. Griffin, perhaps one of the top five QBs in the nation (no I'm not kidding) will give Tech trouble all day, just like last year, however it is too bad he is a one man team.
Baylor was 85th in total defense last year and 103rd in passing defense. They were also 94th in sacks allowed and 84th in sacks. This is all good for Tech. Good things for Baylor are they were fourth in turnover margin. Griffen doesn't turn over the ball. Also Baylor might be playing to be bowl eligible so Tech must come out ready.
Prediction: Tech 35—Baylor 21