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Should the fans be blamed for leaving?

Today, I look at one of the bigger problems surrounding our football program, fans leaving in the middle of the game.

NCAA Football: Kansas at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been well over a week since the end of the last home game for the Red Raiders, where the team fell to the Texas Longhorns and this senior class played its last game at home. One of the things that many fans took issue to on social media, among other things, was the fans (not just students) leaving the game before it was over. Is this a problem with today’s fans, or is it a problem with the program as a whole?

Let’s look at the students. I am currently a senior here at Tech, and I honestly don’t remember there being a memorable win at home since I started here in 2015. Our home wins that year against FBS opponents are as follows:

UTEP (5-7) - 69-20

Iowa State (3-9) - 66-31

Kansas State (6-7) - 59-44

I remember two of these games fondly as I don’t even think I watched the last one. The team was in another November slump and had lost the previous three games. I went to all of the other home games that year and we had a shot at a marque home win against then No. 3 TCU but then again, since Kingsbury arrived all of the marque home games have been almost wins.

Kansas State v Texas Tech Photo by John Weast/Getty Images

Going into 2016, our hopes were elevated and again we came to the games, winning our first three at home to and FCS school, a Conference USA school, and Kansas. We won those three in the month of September and didn’t win another home game all season, finishing with a 5-7 record and squandering the career of one of the greatest talents to step on the field in Lubbock, Patrick Mahomes. Two years in, we still can’t win a good game at home. We were competitive in one loss again that year to Oklahoma, in the game where Mahomes threw for over 700 yards. But alas, we couldn’t pull that one out, nor did we show up for games at home against West Virginia or Texas.

In 2017, we again won in September but lost all other months at home. The team didn’t even bother showing up to games against Iowa State and TCU, and choked big time in games against Oklahoma State and Kansas. We all blamed the special teams when we should be blaming Kingsbury for both not having the team ready to play and not being able to finish games.

This brings us to 2018, the big enchilada. Can we really blame the students for leaving at halftime or before the fourth quarter begins? Here’s a fun fact for you, since 2015, Texas Tech has won three home games after the month of September, all of which to teams who finished with below .500 records and two of which to team that won 4 or less games in that season. Can we blame people in general who attend games for leaving if they know that the team will lose? Come the end of October and November when we usually get the marque games, why even show up if you know that the team will lose?

Birmingham Bowl - Texas Tech v South Florida Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Now, I’ve usually been an optimist about these sorts of things and believe that you never know what’s going to happen until you step on the field. Every year, this program with this coach has made me forget those ways and go into negativity mode. In the case of Texas Tech, game after game, season after season, I unfortunately know what will happen.

Our home-field advantage has been something that Texas Tech has always been known for and that is still true in sports where wins come easily at home. Basketball had the vast majority of its’ student section filled when it opened the season against a team that had no business being on the same court as Tech. Here’s another fun fact for you, Coach Beard has won 14 Big 12 games at home in 18 tries in his two full seasons here at Tech. That is a great winning percentage of 77% and is part of the reason, in my opinion, that the basketball arena is always filled.

NCAA Basketball: Hall of Fame Classic-Texas Tech at Nebraska Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Kingsbury has won 13 FBS games at home in 30 attempts over 6 years. That’s 43%. Since 2012, if this program played an FBS opponent, we lost over half of the time.

Can we really blame the fans for showing up to games they know are losses? It used to be different when we would pull off a huge upset, then you would have fans stay just for the sheer intrigue of pulling off the upset. Now, we haven’t had a huge upset win at home in 6 years. Do we blame the fans for leaving, or do we blame the coaches and the program for not showing up or finishing (or both) big games at home?