Texas Tech has only gone to a bowl game two times in the last seven years, including a drought that now spans three consecutive seasons. The Red Raiders’ conference home is very much in jeopardy with the latest round of conference realignment officially announced last month. Texas Tech needs to show progress for both the short-term future of coach Matt Wells and position itself for the uncertain future ahead.
What Is The Path For A Texas Tech Bowl Game Berth
A 3-0 start Is A Must
Texas Tech’s non-conference schedule starts at a “neutral” site game at NRG Stadium in Houston against Dana Holgersen’s Houston Cougars. The schedule gets much lighter with home games against Stephen F. Austin and FIU. The Houston game will set the tone for the entire season. Tech needs to revitalize an offense that ranked just 62nd in the country in points per game at 28.4. The lack of explosive plays, evidenced by the yards per play average of 5.6 (52nd nationally), has been a common theme since the arrival of Wells. A crisp performance by the offense, with guidance from a senior-laden linebacker corps, is exactly the start to the season Texas Tech requires to get to the magical six-win mark.
Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa State Are *Guaranteed* Losses
College football can get strange. A win in 2021 by the Red Raiders against these three talented rosters would qualify as such. Assuming the strangeness stays in the shadows, it requires the Red Raiders to win four of their remaining six conference games.
2021 State champions Of Kansas
The last two meetings between the Jayhawks and the Red Raiders have been three-point games. The 2019 game gave us one of the stranger endings in recent memory, and as down as the Texas Tech program has been, no program in college football has been as bad as Kansas in the last decade. The Red Raiders will need to handle their business in an all-but-likely sleepy atmosphere in Lawrence this season to get win number four.
Kansas State owns a five-game winning streak against Texas Tech and has won the last nine of ten meetings. During that same time, Texas Tech has had the higher ranked recruiting class (according to 247 rankings) nine out of ten times. If the Red Raiders are to go bowling this year, they must play to their talent and secure win number five against the Wildcats.
TCU And Oklahoma State Looking Ahead?
Texas Tech can beat the remaining four teams on its schedule. But all of these games fall into the “coin-flip” variety. In the last nine games between Tech and TCU, Tech holds a 4-5 record and every game has been competitive (outside an 82-27 embarrassment). TCU is a popular sleeper pick in the Big 12 this season. However, the Horned Frogs lost their best offensive lineman (T.J. Storment) and offensive coordinator (Sonny Cumbie) to the Red Raiders. Texas Tech had won two in a row against the Cowboys until suffering a six-point loss in 2020. Oklahoma State and TCU both have to travel to Lubbock in vulnerable scheduling positions. TCU will have just played Texas and has Oklahoma the following week after coming to Lubbock. Oklahoma State plays Texas the week prior to coming to Lubbock with Bedlam the week after. Both are at risk looking past the Red Raiders.
That Leaves Baylor And West Virginia
Baylor had an awful first year under Dave Arranda. They have brought in a new offensive coordinator to help revamp the Bears’ offensive attack. In the last 79 meetings between these two in-state rivals, they share a record of 39-39-1. A victory against Baylor is a must for a Texas Tech bowl game appearance to remain in play. West Virginia is going to boast a stout defense again this season. But the Red Raiders come in with a two-game winning streak against the Mountaineers. West Virginia is likely to be favored when the Red Raiders come to town. Can the Red Raiders mustard up enough offensive firepower to find a victory in Morgantown?
The Path Is There; Will The Red Raiders Follow It?
The six-win standard to earn the bowl invite is there for the taking. Undefeated non-conference play, state champs of Kansas, keep Baylor down and find one more between West Virginia/TCU/Oklahoma State. While many Red Raider fans have a hard time seeing this path, count on seeing the Red Raiders in bowl season this year.