Do you believe in miracles? The 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team did. As Americans, we all stood and rejoiced as they pulled off the unbelievable and if you weren’t old enough at the time then you rejoiced when the movie came out. As Americans we root for the underdog, we want the team that no one expects to pull through and triumph in the end. Luckily as Tech fans, we get to enjoy what will be fruits of our long suffering as Texas Tech will be the 2018 NCAA College Football Champions.
Players destined for big seasons.
Shimonek will have a season reminiscent of B.J. Symons’ 2003 year. The similarities between the two are uncanny. Both are following Red Raider legends, both are playing their only starting season as a 5th year senior, both have an unorthodox look and demeanor. Shimonek will parlay these similarities into similar stats throwing for 5,000 yards. Kingsbury isn’t called the Quarterback whisperer for nothing, as he’ll once again have another QB invited to New York for the Heisman ceremony.
Every B.J. Symons needs a Wes Welker, and Shimonek’s Welker is going to be Keke Coutee. Coutee will follow the likes of Welker, Crabtree, Grant and have a Billetnikoff type season. Coutee had four games last year with over 115 yards including the season finale where he put up a staggering 221 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Coutee is leading a STACKED group of offensive skill players including Dylan Cantrell, Cameron Batson, Desmond Nisby, and Derrick Willies, but he will make sure to be the difference maker that teams have to gameplan for.
Following a one year banishment to Scooba, MS. The sure tackling Dakota Allen is back leading this defense that desperately needed him. He is anchoring the most veteran defense of the Kliff Kingsbury era who last season surely could have used the 117 tackles he provided for EMCC. With this chip on his shoulder, we will see an aggressive linebacker, who will once again look to stop the run. After seeing his talent and skill as a freshman, he will make sure to show the growth he’s made two years later.
What about the Offensive Line?
It’s no secret that this appears to be the weakest group on the team entering the season. However, with the emergence of Jacob Hines in the spring and the unit staying healthy throughout practices, we may see something we haven’t seen from this group recently: depth. The heralded blue-chip recruit, Jack Anderson, may not even start when the season begins because of the improved talent at Guard, 7-year veteran Tony Morales is going from starter last season to back-up this season, because of the improved talent across the board. Also this year, the line will have an easier time protecting the pocket as Shimonek is a true pocket passer by every sense of the phrase.
How it plays out?
It it now time for me to peak into my crystal ball and tell you EXACTLY how this season plays out. Tech will put the conference on notice when, not only do they sweep the non-conference but do it convincingly. Starting the season against three tough opponents and making quick haste of them will set the team up perfectly for conference play. The pollsters won’t notice the Red Raiders until the secondary picks off Mason Rudolph twice in a fan storming, big time upset. After finally cracking the top 20, the Red Raiders will have another tough bout at West Virginia. Shimonek goes out and carves up the top ranked defense in the conference en route to another upset.
It will all come to a screeching halt however. Similar to last season, Tech and Oklahoma will get into a shootout of mass proportions and Baker will have the ball last to put a stain on Tech’s perfect record. This WILL NOT deter this Red Raider team however, three straight home victories against K-State, Baylor, and TCU put the team back on track, before facing the rival UT. Once again UT underperforms on the season as they try to gain bowl eligibility, but a big day from Nisby nixes that attempt which sets up a rematch in the Big 12 title game vs Oklahoma. Both teams with one loss pitted against each other in a neutral site game, this time the Red Raiders’ defense proves to be more formidable and the Red Raiders hoist the Big 12 championship trophy and squeak into the CFB Playoff.
Ranked fourth, Tech is pitted against Alabama’s daunting defense. However, Saban defense’s Achilles heel has always been pass happy offenses. Kingsbury’s offense has beaten Saban before and he shocks the world and does it again. We then move onto the National Championship game where USC has made a resurgence and now once again plays a Texas team for the title. Unfortunately for the trojans, this game plays out the same way. Amazing plays back and forth but Tech’s tattooed knight glides into the end zone to win the National Championship for the Red Raiders. Instead of getting let go, Kingsbury gets a statue built outside the Jones, Shimonek gets drafted first round in the NFL draft, and Cantrell goes on toplay in the next season of Big Brother and gains reality show fame. Just like the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, this Red Raider team with 1,000-1 odds will be one of miracles.