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 // Texas Longhorns Edition".
Reason # :: The Power of McCoy: How could I not lead off with the myth and legend of Colt McCoy. And to be honest, it's completely deserved, especially for what he did in 2008, which still astonishes me on some level. McCoy almost averaged 9 yards an attempt (actually 8.9) which is off the charts impressive and then he went ahead and lead the Longhorns in rushing. The only blemish last year wasn't necessarily McCoy's fault. The entire offense wasn't holding up, from the line on down. But I just can't accept the fact that McCoy and the Longhorns aren't still bothered by what happened on November 1, 2008. I don't think that McCoy needs to prove anything, but I think he wants to prove something on Saturday. This is statement game for the Longhorns as the next two are UTEP and Colorado. Texas needs to win decisively, I think, to have that strength of schedule that plagued them last year.
Reason #2 :: Muschamp Really Wants It: I've talked above how McCoy wants it, but if I had to wager who wants it more, it's Will Muschamp. Much of what's been written about the Longhorns thus far is that Muschamp has been holding back a bit the first two games. Somewhat of a vanilla defense and there's the thought that Muschamp will release the hounds on Saturday night. I don't think that Muschamp should or does feel responsible for last year's loss any more than McCoy or Mack Brown or any other player, but Muschamp seems like the sort of guy that feeds off of this sort of thing in that he wants this game and I get the feeling that he's going to relay that message to his defense quite clearly right before kickoff. Muschamp doesn't want to see 474 yards through the air and 105 on the ground in 2009.
Reason #3 :: Unreliable Running Game: I could not have been more disappointed in the fact that the Texas Tech running game still didn't get on track against Rice. Only 14 carries on 52 yards isn't going to cut it. I'm not a Beyond the Box Score mathemetician and tell you that the lack of effecient running is going to be the downfall of this offense, but if something doesn't change this week, it very well could be. Think back to last year where the offense averaging over 117 yards a game. 2009 is no where near that sort of production with only 46 yards on the ground a game against North Dakota and the second game to Rice who gave up 300 yards last week against UAB. Even if you take the small sample size of the first two games of 2008, you still have 20 and 23 carries during those first two games while 2009 you have 14 and 13. That's not going to cut it.
Reason #4 :: Defensive End Depth: This goes both ways in that the Red Raiders don't have enough of it if Rajon Henley doesn't play, while the Longhorns have plenty of it behind the relatively quiet Sergio Kindle and Sam Acho, who has really led the defense thus far. Henley was injured early in the first half of last week's game and my hope is that it's superficial, that the staff decided to keep Henley off the field against Rice and save him for Texas. That's my hope. I've mentioned this week that Ryan Haliburton played quite a bit in Henley's absence and he's a much better player than I give him credit. DE's Daniel Howard and Brandon Sharpe are workhorses and are the kind of players you like because they absolutely refuse to quit, but depth is a huge concern.
Reason #5 :: A Huge Game, on the Road: Road games are tough. First big road games against a quality opponent with an offense that's so dependent on a quarterback can be rough. Go back to 2006 where the Red Raiders were able to get through SMU and UTEP without a loss and then traveled to TCU who just whipped Texas Tech 3-12. Or how about the first relatively big road game of 2007 where the Red Raiders had to face off against Oklahoma St. and lost a heart-breaker in Stillwater. Both games were the third game of the season and whether it was the offense or the defense, one unit wasn't prepared. Taylor Potts is going to be tested, as is the rest of this team and perhaps more will speak to this 2009 team and the ability to bounce back, like Graham Harrell seemingly did all of 2008.