Earlier this week (appropriately, on Monday), I speculated as to what the worst case scenario would be for the Red Raiders this coming year, within reason. If Texas Tech just can’t catch a break, there’s actually a chance they could wind up 3-9 or 4-8 as I outlined in the worst case scenario.
But the flip side of that coin is Texas Tech’s best case scenario. Again, obviously the literal best case scenario is a 14-0 record and a national championship. But I want to discuss a scenario that has a somewhat reasonable level of plausibility (i.e. 10%-15%).
While Texas Tech finished the regular season 7-5, there were multiple games that Texas Tech had a very good chance of winning – games that one could argue the Red Raiders “should” have won.
For instance, if TCU’s Aaron Green’s toe lands three inches further downfield and out of bounds, Texas Tech would add a win to their season total against one of the best teams on their schedule. For the better part of three quarters, Texas Tech outplayed Oklahoma State. And had the offense not played one of their more disappointing games of the season in Morgantown, it easily could have been a win over West Virginia as well.
All in all, Texas Tech wasn’t too far away from finishing 8-4, 9-3, or even 10-2. This season, they can reach comparable heights if things go well.
Let’s examine the perennial top teams from the Big 12 in recent years: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Baylor.
Tech’s biggest advantage over Oklahoma is obviously that they will play in front of a packed and rowdy Jones AT&T Stadium. Combined with the emotion involved with Baker Mayfield’s return to Lubbock, and the fact that Texas Tech scored nearly 60 points per game at home last fall, and this has all the ingredients of an upset.
TCU lost their Heisman caliber QB Trevone Boykin in addition to the rest of their offensive weapons such as Aaron Green, Kolby Listenbee, and Josh Doctson. Clearly, they will have to prove they can reload on offense to stay competitive at the top of the Big 12.
Baylor lost one of the best receivers in the nation, Corey Coleman, fired their head coach this offseason, and their starting QB is coming off a season ending neck injury. They might be the biggest wild card in the conference, with potential to be really good or they could take a big step back.
Oklahoma State might be the toughest overall matchup on the schedule given the fact that they return a solid lineup from last season and also present a tough road matchup for Texas Tech.
It’s not crazy to think Texas Tech can win two of those four, whether by way of upset or staright up being the better team. And if other mid-level caliber teams on the schedule (i.e. West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas, and Arizona State) wind up not being able to keep up with Texas Tech's offense, we could see a Red Raider squad that racks up a lot of wins and a lot of momentum this season.
While I’m not quite this optimistic yet (though a much improved defense could sway me), it certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibility for Texas Tech to wind up 9-3 or 10-2 in the regular season.