When SEC commissioner Greg Sankey made it public knowledge that their conference’s decision to play football directly hinged on the Big 12’s move - that was an insane gamble on Bob Bowlsby’s laissez-faire attitude alone. Luckily for Big 12, SEC, and ACC fans across the nation there’s going to be at least one week of football this year.
The problem for our friends in the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences is that they’re sitting in a reality where all their sweet sweet fandom is going to go to waste in the traditional football season window. HARK! A savior has come to give you an opportunity for real fun. I mean, sure, you think of the Big 12 and you’ve got Oklahoma and you’ve got Texas. These teams aren’t going to give you the thrill of a lifetime, though.
Oklahoma loves to boast its place in the college football playoffs but it’s never won a game. I mean this is FOUR CONSECUTIVE PLAYOFF APPEARANCES without a win... at this point it’s just embarrassing for the conference and you don’t want to have to be there after they get rick-rolled by an SEC team, right? Then Texas. Ohh Texas. So much money, so many resources, so much brand recognition, and they still struggle year-in and year-out to make a consistent effort at being “back.” There’s a reason that meme is still as strong as ever and you do not want to be counted as another Walmart fan.
Then we have the middling of it all: Baylor, Iowa State, the Kansas couple, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, and West Virginia; where the real grit of the Big 12 is hashed out. There’s no bandwagons here, no overreaching football brand recognition, no incessant hype - just a bunch of teams working to unseat Oklahoma and embarrass Texas. While I hope my SBNation Big 12 colleagues follow suit and make a case for their team, I’m going to prove to you unequivocally why Texas Tech should be your favorite team this fall.
TEXAS TECH, DARK HORSE AETERNUM
Aeternum (Latin, for eternity)
Chances are you recognize the name “Texas Tech” from our university’s recent rise to national prominence in the big sports like basketball and baseball. Football, despite all of its income and attention, has been on the lagging end of discussion since after Mike Leach left - yeah, that guy. It hasn’t been the same since... it’s been like the ebbs and flows of the ocean except each wave has dolphin poop in it or something and you’re just waiting for the next impact.
Tommy Tuberville was here for a bit and we kind of did defense but our offense was weak. He left out of a steakhouse window. Then we had Kliff Kingsbury and we had offense but our defense was non existent - also we didn’t even bother recruiting so I don’t know what to tell you about that. Fired. Now finally we’re at Matt Wells. Utah State coach converted Red Raider. His first season was pretty terrible, I can’t lie to you - but that doesn’t make Texas Tech the Kansas of the conference (we lost to them, too). In fact, unless you’re Oklahoma you’re never writing off Texas Tech unless you’re just ignorant.
Last season the team that was banged up, on their third string quarterback, and with a first year head coach/coaching staff lost four of their 8 games by one possession. 2020 is already looking better with both our first and second string QBs healthy and hungry, a stronger coaching core with Lubbock experience, and the basic probability that we won’t repeat the 0-4 scenario. Not to mention Wells’ surge of strong transfers from championship programs across the country to fill the gaps that were our bane last year.
Not enough yet? I get it.
In the madness of the offseason Wells & Kirby Hocutt (our athletic director) made waves by going after some top coaches around the country. Take for example Derek Jones, defensive back guru from Duke. Texas Tech’s synonymous history with horrible pass defense surely couldn’t get any worse than 128/130 teams with a strong DB coach like Jones. Or how about Kevin Cosgrove? Recent defensive analyst for national champions LSU and long time linebacker whisperer. Texas Tech’s recent surge of linebackers being drafted in the first round of the NFL will only be improved upon by a coach with Cosgrove’s pedigree.
I won’t bog you down with too much roster talk here; we’ve got articles and podcasts covering the who’s who of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. No doubt when you finally don your first scarlet and black polo it’ll feel like home - honestly what a strong color combo and our uniforms prove it. Burnt orange? Disgusting. Crimson? How common. Likewise we’re one of those awesome teams that use a live mascot, a beautiful black steed named “Fearless Champion” that creates a unique and exciting game day atmosphere.
The honest truth is that Red Raiders are one big family, that means supporting our athletes near and far no matter the cost or the odds. Why? Because of Lubbock’s remote nature on the Llano Estacado (aka God’s wine country) our small city has become unified with the identity and brand of Texas Tech. We want the Double T to mean something to people when they see it. Like our hard-working white-knuckle attitude out here in West Texas, we won’t stop grinding to make it a reality. Football may not be a conference powerhouse, but it’s going to do it’s damnest to try. So when you take on Texas Tech you take on the spirit of Lubbock, too, and that’s not a bad thing.
So from all of us at Viva the Matadors and Texas Tech, we’d love to have you a part of our season this year... because what the hell else are you going to do?
SIGNING BONUS: PATRICK MAHOMES!
I think you've heard of him.