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Texas Tech Red Raider Notes for 07-27-07

Texas Tech Football:

ESPN is ranking top football programs for all Division I teams and Texas Tech is number 32, ahead of programs such as Alabama and Cal, while Texas A&M is ranked 3 spots ahead of Texas Tech at 29. Believe it or not, I can live with the 32nd ranking and it speaks volumes as to how Coach Leach has transformed this program into a legitimate football school. Leach has proven that he's a winner and he's won at Texas Tech with less talent that most other schools. Here's ESPN's blurb on Texas Tech:

Coach Mike Leach has transformed the Red Raiders into a high-scoring, entertaining juggernaut with his pass-happy offense. Texas Tech has won 56 games since 2000 -- only Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska have won more games among Big 12 Conference teams. Leach has led his teams to seven straight bowl games -- the longest streak by a Texas Tech coach -- and won four of the last five postseason games. But Texas Tech's inability to play defense has prevented it from being a serious Big 12 contender during Leach's tenure.

That's a fair assessment.

ESPN's Mark Schlabach, who I think is a talented writer, writes a complimentary article to the list of teams 26 through 51 and believes that Texas Tech is a team on the rise rather than a team in decline:

Texas Tech (32) also seems to be another program on the rise. The Red Raiders have averaged eight victories the past seven seasons, and their 56 wins since 2000 are the fourth-most in the Big 12 (only Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska have won more). Texas Tech has won four of its last five bowl games (only Texas has won more postseason games since 2000 among Big 12 teams).

Hat-tip to Block U, the Utah Utes blog, on this article on this year's top collegiate fantasy quarterbacks. You want to guess where Harrell check in? How about 7th. I don't play fantasy college football, but if I did I'm pretty sure who I know I'd take as my quarterback.

Big 12 Football:

DMN's Chip Brown has an interesting take on a rule change I've yet to see discussed, which will require teams to now kick off from their 30 yard line rather than their 35 yard line. Leach mentioned during his press day how disgusted he was with the state of Texas Tech's kick return results, 118th of 119 Division I schools for an average of 15.86 yards per kick return. Leach has gone so far as to put Ruffin McNeil in charge of kick returns. Last year I advocated getting some bigger backs to return kicks rather than Eric Morris. I also couldn't figure out why Woods was returning kicks, just seemed odd to have your starting running back returning kicks. It will be interesting to see if any of the previous return men are back fielding kick offs this year.

The Chron's Terrance Harris has an article on the Big 12's second year quarterbacks. There's no doubt that it's an impressive bunch, possibly the best group of quarterbacks in the nation as a conference. Go check it out.