Thank you everyone who submitted a question for us this week, and keep an eye out for next week's mailbag!
I belive if we're going to pull off an upset, it's much more likely to happen at home. Not just because of the crowd, but the offense scored 59.7 points per game at Jones AT&T Stadium in 2015, yet averaged just ("just") 33.5 points per game away from home. The team I would most like to upset is Baylor, but since that game is in Arlington once again this season, I think it's less likely.
The answer is Oklahoma. Months ago, I predicted that we would be 6-0 heading into that game. There's a good chance Oklahoma is undefeated as well. Throw in the Baker Mayfield drama and it's likely College Gameday comes to Lubbock to watch a pair of top 15 teams do battle. The crowd will be crazier than it's been since the 2008 Texas game, and I think all the stars align and Tech gets the upset.
I would give him a B-. There were certainly some positives from last season, most notably the turnover production that had been lacking in years past. There were also a handful of games in which the defense came out for the second half noticeably better than the first half. Gibbs has played down the concept of halftime adjustments, but I doubt it was a coincidence every time the defense played a better second half.
That said, the overall product of the defense was still pretty awful. When you give up 300+ yards passing and 300+ yards rushing to Sam Houston State, it leaves a lot to be desired. I am hopeful that the defense takes the next step this season and gets out of the cellar nationally. I know they won't become the 1985 Chicago Bears, but I would just like to be competent. Consistently hold the opponent under 35 points per game, force some turnovers, force field goals instead of giving up touchdowns, and it should be enough to allow Pat Mahomes and the offense lead us to victory.
For the second part of your question regarding our defense, see the answer above. In all honesty, I don't see how it can be any worse. With Dakota Allen and D'Vonta Hinton looking like emerging playmakers at linebacker and Kolin Hill and Ondre Pipkins added to the defensive line, it would seem the defense is on track to take a step or two in the right direction.
My expectations are higher than most going into this season (see the 6-0 start predicted above). It's hard to predict a specific win total, because close games can swing one way or the other in just one play. But I think we should be competitive with everyone we play at home, and competitive with ranked teams. And I mean "competitive" as in you have a real chance to win almost every game you play. I think six or seven wins would be a slight disappointment. Eight seems about right, but nine or ten isn't out of the realm of possibility if you can come out on top in close games and pull off a couple upsets.
Conventional wisdom is that your second best QB is your backup QB. But when you're trying to save a year of eligibility for a player like Duffey, an incoming freshman, it certainly shakes up the depth chart. There are two typical scenarios in which you see the backup QB. First, when the team is winning or losing by so much that the outcome of the game isn't in question. Second, when the starter is injured. I hope whoever our backup QB is, he never has to play for reason number two. And I don't see why Kingsbury would waste Duffey's redshirt by putting him in the game to hand the ball off in the fourth quarter up by 30 points.
So I think unless Mahomes is injured for a significant amount of time, we probably don't see Duffey this season. Even if Mahomes goes down, if Kingsbury believes the more experienced Shimonek is more likely to effectively lead the offense, we still won't see Duffey. All in all, I hope we don't have to use Duffey this season, and barring something unusual, I don't think we will. Ideally, we see him in mop up duty in 2017 during Mahomes' senior season, and then likely take over as the full time starter as a redhsirt sophomore in 2018.
I emerged victorious in the 2015 Mr. Lubbock pageant. I fell behind after the swimsuit portion of the contest, but made up for it during the talent portion in which I covered Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up". Initially, Steve Harvey mistakenly said I was the runner up, but I actually won.
Okay none of that is true. "Mister Lubbock" is just the name of a blog I started to tell stories about the city of Lubbock. A friend of mine once referred to me as "Mister Lubbock" and it never stuck as a nickname (probably a good thing), but I thought it would make a good name for the website.
@MisterLubbock I know you are up late but I have an important question.— Hunter Cooke (@HunterCookeVTM) April 4, 2016
My Wife Left Me.
Thanks for your time.
Hunter, at this point I will get less than four hours of sleep, so why not lose a few more minutes and answer your question?
#WELLACTUALLY you didn't even ask a question. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul. But in all seriousness, my wife left me too. Oh well. Thanks for the question, Hunter.