When independent calculations determine you have the weakest strength of schedule in your conference, you can look at it in one of two ways.
The first and probably most common approach is, “Wow, we are going to play a bunch of nobodies this year. Not sure how many games I’m going to go to, I wish we had the guts to actually schedule some redoubtable competition.” Fans are a prideful people. We all know this.
Alternatively, you can rejoice in the hope your team is going to steamroll its inferior adversaries. 12-0 is still undefeated, even if we played 12 different versions of the Texas State Bobcats.
As a minimally biased sports writer, my perspective is this: the easy schedule simply means no excuses for second-year coach Matt Wells.
Sure, if we opened the season with Alabama, Oregon and Norte Dame, fans and administrators alike would be a lot more forgiving if an 0-3 start unraveled to another 4-8 season. But Tech opens with UTEP, Alabama State and the Kevin Sumlin-led Arizona Wildcats, which ESPN projected would finish 11th in the PAC-12 for the upcoming season. If the Red Raiders get through the first three weeks of the season with anything other than three resounding wins, there is no shield for Wells to hide behind—other than the dated and disproven “I need more time to recruit my guys into this program.”
Tech also gets both of the Big 12’s heavyweights at home this year, hosting Texas after a matchup with Baylor in Lubbock, and closing the season with Oklahoma in late November.
Outside of those two, it’s hard to look at any of Tech’s opponents and say, “You know, we’re just completely overmatched” as far as roster talent is concerned. The Big 12 is just a boiling pot of mediocrity in which any average team is fully capable of “upsetting” any marginally stronger team, which would be welcome news to a Red Raider bunch infamously projected to finish second-to-last in Athlon’s 2020 Big 12 preseason rankings.
In any case, Wells will be hard-pressed to find an easier schedule than the one he was dealt this year, and it’s up to him to take advantage of that gift. With a healthy Alan Bowman, playmakers at wide receiver and what we all hope and pray is an improved defense, all of the excuses are out of the way.
It’s time for Texas Tech football to be competitive again.