We all hate morning games. It’s awful to have to be tailgating for breakfast, especially when you’ve had a rowdy and rambunctious Friday night. This same feeling seems to apply to our dear Red Raiders, as they have not performed well in these early games. The past few years have been especially awful as with the exception of his first season, the Red Raiders have not had a positive record in these 11 A.M. games. This might go back further than Kingsbury’s coaching career to his playing career here at Texas Tech.
2017 will live in infamy as the 11 A.M. year. I personally believe a unfair number of 11 A.M. games were thrown in the program’s direction as you get less ticket sales and less fans show up for an 11 A.M. game, especially when you play 8 of these games. That’s right, over half of the 13 games played last year started in the early slot, by far the most in program history and it hurt the team’s performance as they went 3-5 in these games. All but 2 of your losses came in these early games, sometimes the team started off well and couldn’t finish, and other times the team just didn’t show up at all. The two 11 A.M games this season have both ended in losses as well, as the team didn’t start off well in either of those games.
I know a ton of you enjoy blaming Kingsbury for everything and this time I actually am on your side for this particular argument. Since taking over in 2013, this team has gone 7-12 in 11 A.M games with the last season and the beginning of this season accounting for 7 of those 12 losses. This lack of preparation could stem from Kingsbury’s playing days, where games started every hour instead of in time blocks like they do now. During his time as Texas Tech’s quarterback, Kingsbury played a total of 3 games that started before 1 O’Clock. Two of these games started at 11:30 A.M., and one started at 12:30 P.M. This is where the stats start to get interesting. All three of these games were losses by the Red Raiders and in two of those games, the team managed less than 15 points (The other was a 2OT loss). In those two games, Kingsbury didn’t perform well as in 2000, his first ever 11:30 game was against Texas A&M, where Kingsbury threw for two touchdowns but also threw two interceptions. The other sub par performance during this time was during his senior year in 2002. In a game against Colorado that started at 12:30, he threw four interceptions and zero touchdowns.
This lack of playing early games by Kingsbury during his playing career could be part of the reason that he finds himself in a make or break year. Kingsbury was one of the best players in the program’s history and I thought he would make a great coach as well, but the 11 A.M. games are killing his record. If you take out the 11 A.M. games, his record goes from 33-35 to 26-23, a much better looking record for Red Raider fans.
This program as a whole hasn’t performed well in these 11 A.M. games. The last time the Red Raiders defeated a ranked program during an 11 A.M. game was in October of the 2008 season, when the then No. 8 Red Raiders defeated the No. 19 Kansas Jayhawks (that feels weird to say) by a score of 63-21 in Lawrence, Kansas. The closest to an 11 A.M. ranked home win I found was a 1995 1:00 P.M. game that featured the Red Raiders beating the No. 8 Texas A&M Aggies by a score of 14-7. In 1995, the Big 12 wasn’t even a thing, the President’s last name was Clinton and Texas Tech’s starting quarterback was Zebbie Lethridge. The 1995 season was arguably the best in the Spike Dykes era as the team went 9-3 on the year and beat Air Force in the Copper Bowl.
We shouldn’t in the least bit be surprised on how the team shows up during these early games, especially when the Head Coach of that team only played in three of these early games his entire career. This program historically doesn’t show up for 11 A.M games as when ranked, the program has only been 7-6 in 11:00 A.M. games, which isn’t that bad of a record, but three of those wins came in one season (2013) to three teams who had a combined 7-26 against FBS opponents that year. Not saying that those three shouldn’t be considered in the record but that it’s noteworthy.
What do you all think about Coach Kingsbury’s early game woes? Is it something to be concerned about or is it something that we might just have to live with for the time being? Let us know in the comment section below!