I was asked to contribute to a website having to do with college football, they had a list of 20 football teams they believed were on the decline. ( Texas is 16, by the way, and Florida is number 11), what they do is take how much success the team has had over the past 20 years or so, and see how they have performed the past 2 years. Tech was # 8, if you are a contributor, the will let you write up for a team. Nobody did tech, so chose to do them. This post may not be posted on their site, but if it is chosen, I will let you guys know and post a link. These are my thoughts alone.
The year was 1986, and David McWilliams had decided before the season ended to jump ship at Texas Tech as head football coach and head down to Austin to take the head coaching job at Texas. Enter in Spike Dykes, who was as West Texas as Chicken fried stake and cotton on the side of the road. Dykes coached his first game, a 17-20 loss to Ole Miss in the Independence bowl, but would take over fully in 1987. Prior to Dykes Tech was less than an afterthought, they were a true middle pack team in the old Southwest Conference. The next year Dykes took over, and took Tech from a team everyone could ignore into a team that was dangerous and could upset anyone at anytime. Dykes took west Texas kids and made them tough, and when he got a hold of a rare talent, like a Byron Hanspard or a Sammy Morris, Tech went from pretty good to solidly good. Dykes only coached 7 bowl games in 13 years, only winning two, and had a lot of 6-6 seasons, and had 3 losing seasons, but he played tough competition and usually finished in the upper half of the SWC standings at the end of the year. He did some things that few coaches can never say they did, for starters he beat Texas 6 times out of 13 tries, beat Texas A&M 6 times also, the RC Slocum/Jackie Sherrill heydays, and was 2-2 against Oklahoma in the 4 years he was a coach in the Big 12, won Coach of the year twice, and never finished worse than 3rd in the Big 12 south. Dykes would finish 82-67 and decided to retire at the end of the 1999 season, and as a his final 7 years as head coach, the Red Raiders were Bowl eligible, starting a streak that would put them in the same breath as schools like Florida State and Notre Dame. Dykes laid the foundation for his successor to build on.
After Dykes retired in 2000, Tech hired former Oklahoma offensive coordinator Mike Leach, in every way, shape and form, he was the total opposite of Dykes. He had coached All American QB's Josh Huepel and Tim Couch, had shattered SEC offensive records North and South, and believed a pass happy attack could and would work on the windy south plains of West Texas. His first two years were a solid but nothing spectacular set of results, except for Kliff Kingsbury, who the nation became enamored with because of his ridiculous passing numbers. Leach's third year saw the Raiders start their ascent to becoming on of the nation's best programs and a perennial top 25 contender. He was 9-5 in 2002 with wins over Ranked Texas A&M and Texas teams and a 55-15 spanking of Clemson in the tangerine bowl, this became a sign of things to come. Then the nation became amazed with how Leach was changing Quarterbacks like socks and they were all putting up big time numbers that nobody could ignore, from 2004-2009, Leach's Raiders finished the season ranked in the top 25 5 of his 6 years, were 4-2 in bowl games, and won a share of the Big 12 south in 2008, when it could be argued it was the best the Big 12 south had ever been in the history of the league, and was 3-3 against Texas and Oklahoma combined his final 3 years. He also made Lubbock an even tougher place to play, in his 10 years, Leach served up a 53-11 home record. Tech was headed for big things, and everyone knew it.
Then came "closetgate." Former Tech Tight End Adam James, whose father Craig was an ESPN analyst and now current US Senate candidate, accused Leach of mistreatment and endangerment. Leach, is and was completely innocent and everyone knew it. Aside from that, Tech needed a new coach to keep its football program rolling, and hired Tommy Tuberville, who was Auburn's head guy as head coach. Raider nation was upset at the firing, but relieved that Tech could pick up such a big name in such short order.
2010 was expected to be a great year, despite an 8-5 record with a bowl win, it was considered a disaster by most Tech faithful. They lost to Texas and Oklahoma State at home, were embarassed by Iowa State and Oklahoma on the road, and were thoroughly whipped by a Texas A&M team wanting to make Tech pay for years of beatings they had endured under the time the Raiders were under Leach. If 2010 was a disaster, 2011 was a catastrophe, even though it did not start that way. The Raiders started the year 5-2, upset # 3 Oklahoma at Norman and things were looking up, and then the wheels really fell off. The Raiders defense was a complete joke, they were humilliated again at home by Oklahoma State and Iowa State, with the first mentioned giving them their worst loss in school history. To make matters worse, Tech's spot as the third best program in the Big 12 was revoked by most and their 18 year bowl eligibility streak snapped. Ouch.
Tech is a program on the decline, and unless Tuberville can turn it around with at least 8-9 wins this year on the South Plains, do not expect him on the sidelines in 2013 as most believe ridding themselves of Tuberville will cause the bleeding to stop. Time only will tell.