Sound the horns!! Fall camp has started and it just feels like the time is right for season predictions. Over the next three days, we will drop a couple of writers' predictions each day. In installment #1, Drew and Hunter give us their predictions.
I feel as though next season can go one of two ways. The less desired of the two would be that Texas Tech has another poor showing and finishes around the 4-8 mark again. This could spell disaster for the program. There would be unrest at quarterback, the defense would not have improved, and top ranked recruits would look the other way. The other way I could see things going is what we all as Red Raiders hope for. We could pick up another 3 or 4 wins and be bowl bound once again. This would indicate that Tech had consistent quarterback play and the defense was much improved. Top ranked recruits would notice the turn around and see that Texas Tech is on the rise again.
I personally see the Red Raiders turning it around this year and picking up more wins this season. We have an experienced offensive line, key wide receivers returning, a very solid running back unit and two quarterbacks with valuable game experience. On the defensive side of the ball we return a good amount of starters and also have some nice additions in Mike Mitchell and Breiden Fehoko, so the main thing for the defense will be how well the players adapt to David Gibbs' new scheme.
My season outlook: I see the Red Raiders starting the season 4-4. After three straight losses to Arkansas, TCU and Baylor, Tech wins two straight against Iowa State and Kansas before falling to Oklahoma. Facing a very crucial final 4 games the Red Raiders rally around each other and finish the season with 4 straight wins against Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Kansas State, and Texas. Tech played closely with Ok State and WVU last year but turnovers killed us. I expect Kansas State to have a down year. We finally beat Texas for the first time since 2008 and it just happens to be in Austin on Thanksgiving.
Wins: Sam Houston State, UTEP, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma St, WVU, K-State, Texas
Losses: Arkansas, TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma
Record: 8-4 and AutoZone Liberty Bowl appearance
9/5/15 vs Sam Houston State - Tech comes out hot against a slightly overmatched SHSU team. The adage "Speed Kills" rules the day, and the Raiders use their wheels to cruise to a three touchdown victory. 45-24 Texas Tech
9/12/15 vs UTEP - Tech comes out flat for this one, but ultimately pulls it together against a one-dimensional UTEP offense. Once again, speed is the name of the game, and Tech has it in spades. 42-14 Texas Tech
9/19/15 at Arkansas - No one expects the undersized and underpowered Red Raiders to make noise in this game, which is why they'll put up a good fight against an Arkansas team that will make some waves in the SEC. Arkansas's running game prevails, but Tech gashes the Razorback defense to make it a respectable game. 35-42 Arkansas
9/26/15 vs TCU - The revenge game in the Jones comes to fruition as Tech upsets the top-ranked Horned Frogs, who have yet to have stars emerge at linebacker and safety. Tech works the seams to major gain, and forces just enough turnovers from a gambling Trevone Boykin. 42-38 Texas Tech
10/03/15 vs Baylor - The Bears have more than likely already weathered a surprise from the SMU Mustangs in their first game under Chad Morris, and Texas Tech exhausts their firepower against TCU the previous week, so there isn't much Texas Tech can throw at them that they haven't already seen. Baylor doesn't cruise, but the Red Raiders never truly have a chance to take the lead. 42-56 Baylor
10/10/15 vs Iowa State - A frustrated Texas Tech squad takes out it's rage on a hapless Iowa State team. The Jones is rockin' due to the renewed purpose of the Kliff Kingsbury era, and Tech peels off a decisive win. 38-7 Texas Tech
10/17/15 at Kansas - A beat-up Texas Tech squad survives a scare on the road from the Kansas Jayhawks, but ultimately walks out with a win. In a couple of years we won't be able to waltz into Lawrence mentally unprepared and expect to win, but that isn't this year. 48-20 Texas Tech
10/24/15 at Oklahoma - "Road Game" says it all for this matchup. It ends up being one for the ages, as neither defense can seem to stop either offense. Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield hits a streaking Sterling Shepard for the go ahead touchdown with 3 seconds left, and the Red Raider's upset bid is crushed. 52-56 Oklahoma
10/31/15 vs Oklahoma State - Texas Tech pulls off another upset due to Lubbock juju, ending a depressing streak of losses to the Cowboys. Kliff Kingsbury draws up the world's greatest gameplan, and the defense makes just enough stops. 45-35 Texas Tech
11/07/15 at West Virginia - The Mountaineers end up being the Big XII surprise team, and handle an early Red Raider onslaught to squeeze out a win. Home field advantage matters a lot to a young Texas Tech squad who feeds off of emotion and just can't seem to win on the road. 31-35 West Virginia
11/14/15 vs Kansas State - The Wildcats have lost too much for even the Purple Wizard to conjure up magic this season. K-State regresses into a rebuilding year, but they rebound well in 2016. A decisive win over a historically difficult foe is good news for the Red Raiders going into a Thanksgiving showdown with Texas. 42-10 Texas Tech
11/26/15 at Texas - The road woes continue as the two new coaches on the block duel it out in Austin. It's a close game, but the emotion of a Texas crowd that finally has something to cheer about is too much for a relatively young Texas Tech team. The Longhorns don't roll, but Tech can't really do anything to stop Jonathan Gray and an incredibly mentally tough offensive line. 45-38 Texas
Final Record: 7-5.
Bowl Game: Texas Tech does have road struggles, but they also have a lot of experience playing in close games. They take on the B1G #6, Nebraska, in a Big XII rematch for the ages. The Red Raiders take the close victory to the bank for an 8-5 season, that upon reflection could have been better if not for some key drops/turnovers and mistakes by young players, but ultimately showed a lot of promise.