In the middle of last week the preseason All Big-12 Media First-Team as well as their rankings of the teams and boy there were not kind to Texas Tech.
Coming off of a year where the Red Raiders made it to a bowl game when they probably shouldn’t have and then proceeded to make some major improvements in the offseason, one would think that their would be some optimism going into this season. That doesn’t seem to be the case as they were picked to finish ninth out of ten teams and had no players on the All Big-12 team.
The most egregious out of the two is where they are picked to finish as Kansas is the only team beneath them. We should be no lower than seventh as I don’t see how West Virginia or TCU made significant enough improvements to be seen as better teams than us heading into this season.
West Virginia did add JT Daniels at quarterback as well as Red Raider great Graham Harrell to be the offensive coordinator. The two were together at USC for a short period of time and Daniels said that Harrell being there was a big factor in why he chose to play there. However, Daniels has failed to secure starting jobs at both of his previous stops and most of this projecting of the Mountaineers is projecting that Daniels will excel with lesser talent that he had at significantly better schools that he was at before this.
TCU lost the best player to ever come to their school as far as rankings go in Zach Evans. They added a lot in the transfer portal, but as long as they’re rolling Max Duggan out at quarterback there’s no way that they are that much better of a football team than us.
As for the rest of the conference I’m okay with them being ahead of us for now. I was surprised to see Oklahoma State at three behind Baylor and Oklahoma in that order. The Cowboys are bringing back some of that talented defense that won them plenty of games last year, and I have more faith in Spencer Sanders improving than JT Daniels making West Virginia significantly better than they were last year.
As far as the All Big-12 Football Team goes, there weren’t many grievances with the lack of Tech players. Personally I think that Austin McNamara is the best punter in the conference but Michael Turk from Oklahoma is someone that I respect as well. Jaylon Hutchings is another guy that I could see making this team, but he’s the definition of a guy whose production doesn’t always show up on the stat sheet.
By the end of the year I wouldn’t be surprised to see some Red Raiders making the conferences first-team. Hutchings and McNamara are two guys that I can see there at the end of the year.
Krishon Merriweather and Dimitri Moore, two guys at the linebacker position that I can see stepping up and being leaders. Along with them on defense the secondary seems to have a few guys with potential to have big years and end up getting that recognition at the end of the season.
On offense I think that the winner of the quarterback battle has a chance to be first team Big-12 and more in Zach Kittleys offense. Myles Price is another guy that I like to have a big year, and we have two tight ends that could have big years alongside each other in Mason Tharp and Baylor Cupp. On the offensive line I would love to see Caleb Rogers take a big step and help raise this groups production which would help the overall production of the offense out tremendously.
Preseason rankings and projections are just that. We have no idea how this year could play out with all of the changes that have happened to most of the teams. Oklahoma is a completely different team but still has the talent on the roster to produce, and there seems to be better defensive play in the conference going on than I’ve seen in recent history.
Whether or not Tech has the belief from the outside world doesn’t matter, we’ve made significant steps forward and are trending in the right direction. It’s going to be too late for people to realize that when we’re competing for conference championships and winning recruiting battles that we shouldn’t be, which we already are.
Texas Tech Football is going to make a lot of people eat their words this year.