To those outside of Double T Nation, Texas Tech’s rise to the top of college football this year is unexpected, ludicrous, a Cinderella story at best. But to those of us who have been following Texas Tech football and the transformation that it has taken under Mike Leach, this story is one of deliberate steps, building on one another. A success story not by happenstance, but one that has been years in the making and anticipated by the Fans of Texas Tech football. Let’s take a minute to remember from whence we came.
2004 – A rough year in the Big XII south for Texas Tech. Losses to
2005 – A better year. A 9-2 regular season finish with losses to
2006 – A rebuilding year. Graham Harrell secured the starting QB slot as a sophomore. A 7-5 regular season finish (4-4 in conference) with no remarkable wins was most notable for losing to
2007 – A somewhat disappointing year. To the outsider, this year looked to be a chance for Texas Tech to move beyond the middle of the pack and perhaps break out. A returning starter at quarter back and strong recruiting made the season look promising. However, disciplinary issues limited the play of Shannon Woods, and Baron Batch was out with an injury, making the offense rely almost exclusively on the passing game. Difficulties on the defensive side of the ball led to the firing of the defensive coordinator mid-season and promoting assistant Ruffin McNeill into the position. A home victory over #4
2008 – 10-0 to this point. Back-to-back victories over 2 top 10 teams. Ranked for the entire season, most of it in the top 10. I could name the entire starting lineup and most of the second string as outstanding performers. The year started with many questions to answer: How would the supposedly improved defense perform? Could Harrell and Crabtree repeat the statistically phenomenal season that was 2007? Could Texas Tech avoid the “bad loss” that has plagued them the past several seasons? How would they stand up to a rigorous conference schedule? Can they really compete with
So far, all of these questions have been answered in the affirmative. Only one remains, and the answer will come on November 22. Looking back, the comeback win over
Over the past several years, improved recruiting has brought much needed consistency to the roster, allowed players to develop as a team, and added noticeable depth. In 2007, we saw glimpses of what this team could accomplish. The defense began to find itself, especially in the
The confidence inspired by the 2006 win coupled with the desire driven by the disappointment of 2007 have culminated 2008. We have seen the strengths and weaknesses, overcome the mental obstacle of beating Texas and felt the joy of that dramatic win, seen the team perform nearly flawlessly at times, and nearly watched all of our hopes disappear in a blocked extra point in overtime and in slow motion during a last minute drive as a tipped ball came down through the hands of the opposing safety, only to fall harmlessly to the ground.
I cannot predict with certainty what the next 7 weeks will bring, but I can say this: it has been an incredible time to be a Red Raider.