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Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss opening line released

Vegas can’t decide who to favor in this Big 12—SEC clash

AT&T Cotton Bowl - Texas Tech v Mississippi Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Mike Leach and Houston Nutt were on the sidelines for the Texas Tech Red Raiders and Ole Miss Rebels, respectively, when these two teams last met in 2009 at the Cotton Bowl.

You may remember the leading receiver for Tech that game was none other than Eric Morris, who just took the head coaching job at Incarnate Word a few months ago. Morris caught 10 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown that game.

Michael Crabtree also was on the team, though he had a quieter performance with just four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown. Graham Harrell threw 58 passes that game, completing 36 of them for a Cotton Bowl-record 364 yards and four touchdowns and two interceptions in a game where he became the first player with multiple 5,000-yard passing seasons.

There was a a lot of history in this game, after all, it was the final game at the old Cotton Bowl before moving the game to Cowboys Stadium after 73 years. This particular matchup produced the most points in the game’s history and the biggest crowd, with 88,175 fans in attendance.

You may also remember a pair of dynamic running backs on that Rebel roster by the name of Dexter McCluster and Brandon Bolden. That should jog up your memory if you still weren’t sure who won that game.

Yep, in spite of the talent-less Jevan Snead manning the quarterback spot, the explosive playmaking ability of McCluster, who went on to have a stellar career in the NFL, and the consistency of Bolden led to a 47-34 victory for Ole Miss.

They also had a receiver by the name of Mike Wallace, you may have heard of him, too. He’s only caught 538 passes for 8,072 yards and 57 touchdowns in the NFL. He had a mild four catches for 80 yards and a touchdown, while McCluster racked up a combined 180 yards on the ground and receiving with one touchdown. Bolden rushed 11 times for 101 yards and a touchdown in the win.

Goodness, that team was stacked.

In any case, both programs are now in a different place than they were nine years ago, and unfortunately, that’s not a good thing for either university. Ole Miss has been shelled with off the field issues, sanctions, recruiting scandals, coaches-calling-prostitutes-scandals, and, on top of that, they’ve just been another team in the SEC getting steamrolled by Alabama every year.

For Texas Tech, there’s not nearly as much drama. In fact, you almost wish there was some drama, because all the Red Raiders have done is excommunicated their greatest head coach of all time, replaced him with a guy who didn’t want to be there, and replace that guy with a dude who can’t win more than six or seven games with his own recruits to save his life.

Needless to say, this game is incredibly important for both programs. One team will start it’s season on a new note. They’ll open their 2018-2019 campaign with a win against a Power-5 opponent. They’ll have a renewed sense of optimism around their program.

The other team will experience more of the same misfortune they’ve already grown so accustomed to.

But which will be which?

Normally, Vegas can point you in the right direction of which team is stronger, better coached, and has matchup advantages in personnel and schematics.

For this matchup, however, Vegas is simply shrugging its shoulders.

The opening line for the Ole Miss-Texas Tech game is “Pick Em.”

Well. Not sure what to say here. I guess I’m surprised the oddsmakers aren’t leaning toward the SEC roster, especially considering the Red Raiders don’t have an established quarterback. They must really respect the hell out of this Texas Tech defense.

I’m betting it’s a lower scoring game than most would anticipate between a Tech-Ole Miss matchup. Both teams have relatively weak offenses and strong defenses.

Either way, you can’t understate how important this game is to both programs. Maybe we should be comforted by Vegas’ line. All that means is that it’s anyone’s game.

Let’s win it, eh?