Texas Tech still has one more game remaining in their 2022 campaign when they square off against Ole Miss in the Texas Bowl on December 28th. Regardless of the result, the totality of the season gives us plenty of data to evaluate Joey McGuire’s first season as head coach of the Red Raiders. His high energy has been infectious and given plenty of Texas Tech fans hope. But it wasn’t a smooth season by any means. So now that the regular season west Texas dust has settled, what grade to McGuire earn?
McGuire came into the job needing to galvanize a fan base that had been left without much hope after the Matt Wells era. Wells infamously flubbed a seeming layup question in his weekly radio segment when he was on the hot seat. When asked what he loved most about the city of Lubbock, Wells paused for an extended period of time before answering “my family.” Only 10 days later, Wells was fired as Texas Tech’s head football coach.
McGuire generated a ton of early buzz with his high energy and seemingly authentic love for West Texas and the university. But it wasn’t just an act after all. McGuire quickly lit the recruiting trail on fire and hasn’t slowed down. As of this publication, Texas Tech currently has the 22nd national-ranked recruiting class with the early signing period quickly approaching. And while the future immediately got a shot of life into it, McGuire still had yet to coach a game at the collegiate level.
But once the ball kicked off in the 2022 season, McGuire and his Red Raider team found significant success in his first year. Texas Tech had its most Big 12 wins in a season since 2009. That parlayed into the highest Big 12 finish since the conference went to a 10-team format. McGuire quickly helped get butts back in seats at The Jones. Home attendance averaged 57,000, its highest since 2016. Of course, it helps to deliver a winning product to your home fans. And deliver the Red Raiders did. They were 6-1 at home in the 2022 season, which was the best home record since 2009. Texas Tech also achieved school history for successfully defeating Texas and Oklahoma in the same season for the first time in program history.
For all of the great things that McGuire achieved this year, it still was only a seven-win campaign. In fact, this team didn’t secure bowl eligibility until their 11th game of the season. So it’s hard not to look at all of the meat left on the bone. This team was tied going into the fourth quarter with eventual Big 12 champion Kansas State. They had a lead against TCU in the fourth quarter as well. Removing the Baylor game from the equation (more coming shortly on that black eye), Texas Tech’s average margin of defeat in their four other loss was only 11 points.
This Red Raider team was competitive in 11 of 12 games this season. But in their one lone home loss on the year, they laid the biggest egg of their entire season. On a night in which Patrick Mahomes was honored at halftime, in which he had his jersey retired in the ring of honor, the offense played its worst game of the season. Baylor also was able to run the ball successfully all night in a 45-to-17 blowout loss. It was a game that was practically over after the first drive by Texas Tech. It also killed any momentum to achieve something truly remarkable in McGuire’s first season.
Joey McGuire’s First Season Final Grade
Texas Tech traversed a tough non-conference schedule and a stacked Big 12 very well in McGuire’s first season. A fourth-place finish in the Big 12 is higher than anyone expected for this team in year one. Combining the recruiting results with the wins and losses of the season, this has been a very successful first season for McGuire.
Joey McGuire’s final grade: A-