Let’s face it, most of us live in the state of Texas where football is more than a sport. It’s religion. In Texas the quality of some high school programs rivals some division one programs across the country. When football is not doing well some fans write off the athletic department as a whole. I even heard some clamoring for Kirby Hocutt’s job.
I heard an interesting stat on the radio last week however. Texas Tech is the only division I school that currently has four different spring sports ranked in the top 10. Men’s Basketball (#7), Baseball (#3), Women’s Tennis (#8) and Men’s Track and Field (#1). Think about that. There are 347 division 1 schools across 49 states and out of all of them, no one has more programs currently ranked in the top ten than Texas Tech.
These weren’t dynasties either (shout out to meat judging). The last time Tech broke 20 wins in basketball was the 2006-07 season under head coach Bob Knight. Baseball had never been to the College World Series before Tim Tadlock was hired.
Todd Petty is the most tenured coach in the group. After 9 seasons, he is the winningest coach in Lady Raider history with 169 wins. These programs weren’t considered blue bloods by any means and yet here they stand in the top 10.
So what does that say about the state of Texas Tech Athletics?
Whether we call this the golden age or not. It’s a good time to be a Red Raider. A while back one of my colleagues wrote about the missing tile syndrome in relation to Tech football. The thought is that, hypothetically, a single missing tile causes us to negatively judge the ceiling as a whole, even if the rest of the tiles are in pristine condition. In the article, poor quarterback play was the missing tile that brought a negative light to the team as a whole.
In this case football itself is the missing tile that fans have trouble overlooking. On more than one occasion I’ve heard fans use baseball and basketball as a platform to gripe about football. Despite huge success across the board, an underachieving football team continues to be a sore spot that many fans can’t overlook. What can I say? Most of us are texans. It’s in our blood.
The fact is however, even for the so called blue bloods, it almost never gets this good. Texas Tech is currently the only team with four programs ranked in the top 10. While some might argue that Tech is only excelling at the mid major sports, of the three big spectator sports (football, basketball, baseball), two out of three are ranked in the top 10. Most schools are lucky to have just one out of three and almost never have 8all three excelling at the same time (The late 2000s Florida Gators might have been the last school to do so).
So can we call this the golden age of Texas Tech Athletics? I’m not sure we are there yet, but we are getting close. I believe football and women’s basketball are about to turn around and when they do, Texas Tech will have one of the strongest athletic programs in the country. For now just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Are we entering the "golden age" of Texas Tech athletics?
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