The August pre-season football hype got off to a roaring start on Monday with the announcement that Texas Tech and Oregon have scheduled a home and home series for 2023 and 2024. The first game will be played in Lubbock, followed by a matchup in Eugene the next year.
The first thought that came to mind when hearing the news was that Coach Kingsbury doesn’t appear like he’s backing away from any challenges before Big 12 play each season. While the 2014 and 2015 matchups with Arkansas were already set when he arrived in Lubbock, future matchups with Houston (2017 and 2018), Arizona (2019 and 2020), Arizona State (2016 and 2017), North Carolina State (2022 and 2027), and now Oregon (2023 and 2024) indicate that Kingsbury is looking for at least one early season test during the non-conference schedule each season.
The Big 12 has instituted a rule that conference members must schedule at least one power five non-conference game every year, so Texas Tech will not be unique with its compelling non-conference matchups. But the power five programs the Red Raiders have lined up are solid to great programs year in and year out. Rather than just meeting the power five non-conference requirement by scheduling Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, or Purdue, Texas Tech is generating excitement for games that are nearly a decade away.
The second important takeaway from the announcement is that Texas Tech will be able to promote their brand all across the country. Playing in the Big 12, with 60% of the conference teams in either the state of Oklahoma or Texas, it can be difficult for college football fans from other regions of the country to see much of Texas Tech. Contrast that to Big Ten schools, who get airplay anywhere from New York City to Philadelphia to Ohio and across the Great Plains.
But matchups against Arizona and Arizona State will give Texas Tech a brief but important and quality appearance in the southwest United States. This should be a great tool for the university to increase its brand in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona and hopefully recruit future students from these areas. Throw in a matchup in North Carolina and Oregon, and the Double T of Texas Tech will be seen from coast to coast. This is excellent for the university.
The third, far less important but far more inevitable thought that came to mind – THE UNIFORMS. For better or for worse, Oregon and Texas Tech are both known for flashy uniforms. Seven or eight years from now, there’s no telling what college football teams will be wearing. I won’t be surprised if Oregon has laser beams incorporated into their uniforms by 2024. Hopefully by then Texas Tech has adopted a “back to the future” approach, wearing the old school Double T and keeping it simple rather than busting out some lone star pride grey ombre uniforms.
One question I couldn’t help but ponder relating to the matchup is what will college football conferences be like in 2023 and 2024? Is there a chance this actually becomes a conference game as part of a Pac-16 conference (or something similar)? Is it still a Big 12 vs. Pac-12 matchup, or will the conference landscape have shifted by then? It’s something to consider over the next seven years in anticipation of this game.
Things can change fast in the world of college football. I hope come 2023 and 2024, Oregon and Texas Tech are both great football programs with a similar style of play that they utilize today. It would make for one heck of a football game, way before Texas Tech’s annually hyped games against Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor, etc., and that’s an awesome thing for the Red Raider fan base. I can’t wait for Raider Red to trade in his six shooters for a shotgun and go Duck hunting! Guns Up!