This weekly feature considers five reasons why Texas Tech will win and five reasons Texas Tech will lose to each opponent. Check back tomorrow for "Five Reasons Texas Tech Will Win :: Kansas St. Wildcats Edition".
Reason #1 :: Turnovers and Penalties: Too many turnovers for the Red Raiders and other than the Aggies, Texas Tech is 11th in the conference in number of penalties, but luckily for the Aggies, Texas Tech is last in the conference (or best) in yards. That's right, there's been 13 turnovers in just 5 games and the Red Raiders are in the hole one turnover for every game. And the interceptions are bothersome, but the rate that Potts was throwing picks was at an acceptable rate (1 INT for every 44 passes (for comparison purposes, Harrell was at a 50 attempts for every INT in 2007). At some point (although I think it has caught up to the Red Raiders to some extent) it's going to be an avalanche rather than losing a close game.
Reason #2 :: K-State Controls the Clock: We've talked a bit the last two days about KSU's running game and with the insertion of Grant Gregory there's the fear that K-State will control the clock and just pick away at the Texas Tech defense. I know that K-State isn't as talented as Nebraska, but I could see Snyder game-planning to just constantly pick at a Texas Tech defense that is looking not to give up the deep ball to WR Brandon Banks, QB Grant Gregory completing passes over the middle for short gains and RB Daniel Thomas grinding it on the ground.
Reason #3 :: Banks is Special: Brandon Banks can not only beat teams catching the ball, but he's been just spectacular returning kickoffs and right now the Red Raiders are 8th in the conference in allowing 21.45 yards a return. You'd like to see that average a little closer to 20 yards, but the easy way to avoid all of this is to have K Donnie Carona kick the ball out the endzone, which he can do with some regularity some of the time, but that touchback average has really regressed and currently sits at 25.81%. Carona's biggest flaw is consistency in kicking and it's clearly evident here. I really don't want Carona to get cute and try a bunch of directional kicking and would much prefer to simply just kick it out of the endzone if possible and remove the possibility of a Banks return.
Reason #4 :: Injuries Mounting: To say that this is a concern is an understatement and to be truthful, there's a lot of teams that cannot recover from losing a starting center, starting strong safety, starting defensive end and starting quarterback, and still win by 21. That's a lot of attrition for a season, much less just one game. There was talk this morning that KSU's defensive tackle/end Brandon Harold may return and he is the type of player that could give LT Terry McDaniel trouble on the outside or give C Justin Keown and LG Chris Olson trouble on the inside. The Texas Tech secondary is also taking quite a hit with the loss of FS Cody Davis who has been absolutely spectacular thus far this year and has made sure that the defense doesn't get beat for a long touchdown. If he's still in a protective boot yesterday, it's likely he doesn't play. He's the type of player that you don't necessarily notice is gone until KSU gets a touchdown deep. And we haven't even talked about replacing Taylor Potts for Steven Sheffield.
Reason #5 :: Solid Coaching: Bill Snyder is in the process of rebuilding Kansas St. and back in his heyday, he was one of the best in the coaching fraternity. To say that Leach has made some coaching mistakes this year might be an understatement and there may not be a more solid game-day coach that Snyder, who isn't likely to make a mistake on the field. His team may not be able to perform, but it won't be because of his coaching decisions. I've already mentioned the fact that KSU could have a similar game-plan to Nebraska of 2008. With a solid coach making right decisions and a solid game-plan the potential for an upset is quite prevelent.