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Previewing and predicting Tech’s new season schedule

The 2020 season is on for the Red Raiders and we’ve got your season preview for what will be an interesting year in college football.

Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells
Photo courtesy of Texas Tech Athletics

The Big 12 announced Tuesday night that they will officially go on as scheduled with the 2020 football season and released a revised schedule Wednesday morning. Without further delay, it’s season preview time!

The season kicks off on September 12th as the Huskies from Houston Baptist comes into town and is due some excitement because we’ll see redshirt sophomore quarterback Alan Bowman for the first time since week three of the 2019 season after an injury and redshirting ended his season. While being hurt most of his time as a Red Raider, Bowman has still proven to be a solid quarterback when healthy, and probably among the best in the Big 12. Bowman currently has a career completion percentage of 68.2, 23 touchdowns and 3,658 passing yards and looks to remain 100% throughout the shortened season.

However, Bowman more than likely won’t be the only quarterback we see in this week one match up as Maverick McIvor is also returning from a foot injury that sidelined him from seeing the field as a freshman. McIvor was a 3-star prospect coming out of Central High in San Angelo and was ranked the #18 dual-threat quarterback in the country by 247 Sports and possesses great mobility and arm talent that Bowman doesn’t seem to have so expect to see McIvor to take a lot of snaps against the Huskies.

On the defensive side of the ball, we will see Riko Jeffer’s last season in the Scarlet and Black and coming off a strong 2019, we could see Jeffers do much of the same and fly up the draft boards. Eli Howard is also coming off a strong 2019 that cemented himself as one of the anchors of the defensive line. There have also been a few transfers that have the Red Raiders looking fully loaded on the defensive side such as Brandon Bouyer-Randle, a linebacker from Michigan State, Cam White, a defensive back from Northwest Mississippi CC, and Eric Monroe, a defensive back from defending National Champion LSU. This game will start the season off well as we see the Red Raiders earn their first victory of the season.

Score: Tech- 63, Houston Baptist- 3

Photo by Tim Warner, Getty Images

Coming off a win against Houston Baptist, the Red Raiders then are faced with their toughest game of the year in an early season bout with Texas. Texas has one 2 of the last 3 games with the Red Raiders last victory in the series coming in 2017 and the Longhorns have started to gain some more momentum in the Big 12 by remaining in the title picture. Last year, the Red Raiders ended their season with a 49-24 loss to the Longhorns but this year could be a little different. Alan Bowman and the offense could be coming off a very strong performance the previous week against Houston Baptist and barring any injury to Bowman, we could see a spark against Texas that we haven’t seen the last two years. I think the defense will struggle against a strong Longhorn passing attack but this game will be closer than the last two.

Score: Tech- 35, Texas- 38

Senior wide receiver McLane Mannix (13)
Photo by John E. Moore III, Getty Images

The Red Raiders get their first road test of the season against a high-powered Kansas State offense. Tech has lost the last four match ups against the Wildcats and look to break the streak in a week three showdown in Manhattan. The last four games have all been close but none of them closer than the 3-point loss sustained last season as the Red Raiders couldn’t cap off a late comeback in the second half. To me, the outcome of this game is reliant on the defense. Last year, the defense could not get the Wildcat offense off the field and let them possess the ball for 32:15, that’s over half the game. But, I think the offense will continue to perform well and keep the Red Raiders in this game and I do believe that this team is infinitely better than last years. Tech breaks the streak in an absolute nail-biter.

Score: Tech- 31, Kansas State- 28

Photo by Brad Tollefson, Lubbock-Avalanche Journal

For the last four years, playing Iowa State has not been fun for the Red Raiders, losing all four previous match-ups to the Cyclones with three of the last four losses being in the double digits. This game will be just as tough as the last one as Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy is to me the best quarterback in the Big 12 and will be one of the first to go off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. The defense has to find a way to get Purdy out of his comfort zone, force throws into coverage and dismantle the run game. Sadly, I don’t think the offense will be able to repeat the success they had against Kansas State the previous week. However, it will be a high-scoring affair.

Score: Tech- 35, Iowa State- 42

Photo by William Wotring, The Dominion Post

A home bout with West Virginia marks the halfway point of the 2020 season and we can expect nothing but success from both sides of the ball against the Mountaineers. The Red Raiders have won just one of the last four games against West Virginia but we can expect Tech to come out firing as West Virginia is still figuring out their new system. Despite suffering a loss to a very good Iowa State squad, the Red Raiders can expect to pull off another impressive win against West Virginia.

Score: Tech- 34, West Virginia- 20

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

In week six, the Sooners come to Lubbock after winning the 2019 match up 55-16 in Norman. Oklahoma is coming off of a strong 2019 campaign that saw the Sooners win another Big 12 title and earn a College Football Playoff berth. The Red Raiders have their work cut out for them as sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler is as close to another Baker Mayfield as they’ll ever get with a strong arm and an incredible ability to extend plays with his legs. The major key here is to keep Rattler in the pocket, collapse quick on his checkdowns and force him to make rash decisions. While I do think the defense will be able to do this early on, it’ll be hard to keep the Sooner offense at bay as Oklahoma picks up another win against the Red Raiders.

Score: Tech- 21, Oklahoma- 49

Photo by Michael C. Johnson, USA Today Sports

The Texas Tech-TCU game is always a nail-biter and with the Red Raiders winning two of the last four match-ups against the Horned Frogs, we could potentially see Tech win two in a row. The Horned Frogs are losing a big-time target in Jalen Reagor and it’ll be hard to replace him, forcing the TCU offense to take a slight dive that the Red Raiders will try and take advantage of. Although, I do think the Red Raiders will pull off the win here, the TCU defense could prove to be too much for the offense.

Score: Tech- 27, TCU- 34

Photo by Ray Carlin, USA Today Sports

The ending of the 2019 game against the Bears is just about as controversial as it gets. If the butt-fumble was called correctly, I, along with every other Tech fan across the country would have a different attitude towards this game. But, I think the word “revenge” encapsulates the emotions of Red Raider nation headed into November 14th. The Red Raiders have a huge advantage going into this game as the Bears have hired a new coach and we all know, success in year one is hard to come by. I think the Red Raiders can pull off the win here in convincing fashion.

Score: Tech- 35, Baylor- 20

Photo by Brad Tollefson, AP

Personally, I believe Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State is a rivalry in its early stages. The last two wins the Red Raiders have had over the Cowboys have been in upset fashion and I think a rivalry between these two teams is good for the Big 12. The Red Raiders head into Stillwater looking very different from 2019 whereas the Cowboys have kept a lot of their talent such as running back Chuba Hubbard and quarterback Spencer Sanders. The Cowboys have looked to Hubbard to carry their team but to me, that’s just not possible, the quarterback has also got to be able to lead his team and I feel like this Oklahoma State team has become way too reliant on the run game. Heck, they have Chuba Hubbard, a Heisman candidate for much of the 2019 season, who wouldn’t? But, I do think that the Red Raiders will be able to extend their streak to three in a very tight game.

Score: Tech- 42, Oklahoma State- 35 (OT)

Texas Tech v Kansas Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

In 2019, we also saw a controversial ending in a very tight game against Kansas. A series of laterals on a blocked field goal instead of running towards the end zone allowed Kansas to line back up and kick another field goal to win it. Now, I don’t think Kansas will be able to repeat that same luck this season but Les Miles does seem to be making an early impact going into his second season as the Jayhawks head coach. I believe the Red Raiders will finish their season strong with a win capping a 3-game win streak.

Score: Tech- 30, Kansas- 24

Record: 6-4

What do y’all think? Leave your predictions in the comments below! Maybe I’m an optimist.