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Texas Tech has Big 12 title potential

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The Big 12 is extremely vulnerable this year, could the Red Raiders creep into title contention?

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Red Raider fans are fickle creatures by natures. Years of failure and mediocrity have left them jaded. Saturday’s aftermath is a perfect example of that mentality. In a game the Red Raiders were 3 score underdogs, the chatter was about running Wells out of town when the inevitable blow-out occurs.

Instead, Texas Tech looked like the better football team for the majority of the game. Sam Ehlinger looked rattled, Bowman kept Tech marching down the field, and the coaching staff took risks to win. We all know what happened in the three minutes to end regulation, and the eventual defeat in overtime.

Coaches failed, and played failed to lead to that collapse. However, despite how well Tech played and how close the upset was the new thing to whine about was “I am tired of moral victories, dangit!”

I could point out how silly it is to be mad about an overtime loss that Tech should have won as being as bad or worse than the expected blowout. Instead, I will leave that game in the past now and look at the Big 12 title race.

Texas is the new odds on favorite, and with good reason. The conference as a whole just looks bad this year, with OU struggling to break in a new quarterback and every other team deeply flawed in some way.

A smart bet now is that Texas is playing for the title in December. And if Saturday taught Tech fans anything, it is for all this team’s flaws it can compete at that level.

After the HBU disaster, season predictions dropped as low as no remaining wins. It was an obvious overreaction, but an understandable one. The team looked bad in every phase of the game. But let’s assess how things changed after Saturday.

Offensively, the team looks elite. Tech did not have a lot of time to establish the run, but Thompson is clearly a top back in the conference. And I would put Tech’s receivers against anyone’s in the conference as a whole. Bowman can be a liability with his inconsistent play, but he will position this offense to win games. Yost is not going to be a perfect play-caller, but there is so much talent on this offense they will score despite that. He also does look far improved from last season.

Defensively, the secondary struggled against a very good Texas attack. But if Keith Patterson does not switch to the world’s worst prevent defense, they did enough to win. They picked off Ehlinger and rattled him, tasks that are not easy to do. Yes, this defense is not good on the back end. But Texas is the best attack they will face all season excluding maybe Oklahoma, and they had Tech in position to win.

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are the tie one teams with Texas, and they both look very beatable this year. Forget previous years, when the conference was stronger and this Tech team could not compete. This year, it is anyone’s game to win it all and Tech is included in that group. A win against Kansas State on the road would solidify Tech as a conference contender.

I am as tired of the moral victories as anyone else, it’s time to just do the damn thing. And this team, for this weird season, is good enough to do it. If they can stay out of their own way.