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Overhyped?

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Time's been a little short for me as I try and tie up loose ends at work before leaving on vacation. But I wanted to give some time to Kyle's assertion that Texas Tech is receiving undeserved attention this preseason. (Of course this somewhat begs the question in that isn't any team receiving undeserved attention at this time of the year. It's June for Pete's sake.) Back to the point at hand. Kyle obviously had a problem with the schedule and it has been well documented that Tulsa was supposed to be on the schedule, dropped Texas Tech for Arkansas and as late as February the open spot was replaced with Eastern Washington. Not an ideal opponent, but the truth of the matter is that Lubbock and Texas Tech cannot afford to give away home games, and I'm sure that any team worth their mettle would not have come to Lubbock so late in the year.  Although I am not a part of the decision making in regards to the non-conference schedule I would be willing to bet that two biggest reasons why Texas Tech doesn't schedule tougher teams is that the BCS doesn't necessarily reward tough schedules and Texas Tech has to maintain as many home games as possible to pump some money into the program and a town that needs it.  I can only assume that the out-clauses for opposing teams will be an escalating clause from this point forward, but there's not much we can do about this now.

Eastern Washington is not a perfect opponent and it would be nice to not play two FCS schools in the same year, but Texas Tech's hands are/were tied. Besides, teams (i.e. Michigan) have scheduled FCS teams with the expectation of a certain amount of success and been nothing but disappointed and although it may not matter, both UMass and Eastern Washington are highly ranked FCS programs .  Again, I understand they are FCS teams, but Appalachian State was/is not a bad football team.

As I stated yesterday, I think most Texas Tech fans appreciate the idea that the defense hasn't shown very much in year's past, but just like most things in life, these things take time and I believe that Captain Leach has built the program the right way. Build an offense that recruits will take notice first and then build the defense, it just takes time. I am reminded of a few things that SMQ wrote (an entire series, "Stats Relevance Watch") in regards to defense and winning. The first being that teams with the best defense win, but teams with the most efficient offenses are right there in terms of success on the field. (Digression: Although I don't think this is the time to discuss the merits of whether to build an offense or a defense first, I do think that Leach had to build the offense first, an offense that doesn't necessarily require great athletes, garner some attention, which would then hopefully attract better athletes on the defensive side of the ball).

It is easy to point out that of the teams that performed exceptionally well last year, Texas Tech's poor performance against the rush stood out amongst the better teams (i.e. the offense has pulled up the defense a number of times). Admittedly, it is a fault that we know needs to be remedied. I think it's easy to say that Texas Tech's defense has historically been awful and at at first blush that may be true, but in reviewing the Big 12 2007 conference statistics, Texas Tech was 5th in total defense, 6th in scoring defense, 1st in pass defense and a disappointing 10th in rushing defense. I guess what I'm getting at is that Texas Tech may not be as bad as it seems when it comes to the defensive side of the ball.  I think it's important to point out that in general, defenses were bad in the Big 12, evidenced by the voluminous amount of points put up by the Big 12 was staggering as well as the incredible number of lopsided losses (the average margin of victory in the Big 12 was 19.6 points per game).

In this circumstance I think that teams like Texas Tech, that returns quite a bit of talent and starters on defense and an offense that can keep them in games, should have greater success than other teams in the conference.  I think that for most football prognosticators that this a standard and easy to identify recipe for success (10 returning starters on defense + defensive tackle transfer from Miami + 2 4-star JUCO defensive ends + 11 returning starters on offense including Mr. Crabtree = pretty good team).

Kyle has also responded to TB's comment that I just read this morning. I haven't had time to respond to either of those items, but go join the discussion over at Dawg Sports as TB points out that Texas Tech will not be overrated because of the weak non-conference schedule, but because of the possibility of losing to Oklahoma, or Texas or some other Big 12 school.