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The Curse of Mike Leach

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"The Jones" hasn't been the same since Leach's departure in 2009, but is the end in sight?

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There is nothing like Saturday nights during the Fall in west Texas. The brilliant sunsets. The crisp air. The glow of the stadium nights shining like a beacon above the south plains. Over the last few decades, opposing teams have found trips to Lubbock an arduous affair at best. And while the argument can be made that "The Jones" has always held a certain mystique, it wasn't until the last decade that the nation took notice. 

You could always count on national attention when perennial powers Oklahoma and Texas, in search of a BCS title birth,  had to travel to Lubbock that year. Almost always on upset alert and always with a circle around the date before the season began. It became a given that Tech would win at home and a shock when they didn't. During that time, Texas Tech and Mike Leach became synonymous with one another and to the shock of the fan base, Leach's untimely dismissal felt like an injustice.

Enter Tommy Tuberville. He promised more focus on the run game and an SEC style defense. Neither happened and in the course of his tenure, blowout losses at the once mystical Jones overshadowed the upsets against #3 Oklahoma on the road and #5 West Virginia at home. The complete turnaround felt like "The Jones" itself had turned on the football program. The aura was gone. Teams no longer feared coming to Lubbock anymore than they feared going into Lawrence, Kansas. Tuberville's record in Lubbock during his time at Tech (2010-2012) was 10-8. 

For some perspective, from 2002-2009, Tech had a record of 42-7 at home under Leach. 42-7! In 8 years, Tech lost fewer games than both Tuberville and Kingsbury have in 3 a piece. 

Enter Kliff Kingsbury. As students stormed Memorial Circle it was hailed that Kingsbury would have restored the culture pre-Tuberville and bring Tech back to its winning ways at home. Over Kingsbury's first three years as Head Coach, he's lead Tech to the same 10-8 record at home that Tuberville had. Is the curse of Mike Leach real? Possibly. For the moment even the Return of the King can't break the curse, but things seem to be on the upswing for Texas Tech. 

For one, we have night games this year. Night games in Lubbock are just as intimidating to opponents as night games in Baton Rouge. 

And more importantly as one of my fellow writers has put it, Tech has it's swagger back.

With the Red Raider culture firmly in place under Kliff Kingsbury, the return of night games and a favorable home schedule, Tech may finally be able to exorcise their demons and return the mystique back to "The Jones".