Texas Tech’s first season under Matt Wells was a tumultuous one. Star offensive lineman Jack Anderson went out before the season, quarterback Alan Bowman was gone by the third game and the offense just never quite got on track.
Heading into Year 2, the Red Raiders bring back key contributors on both sides of the ball. Anderson and Bowman are back in the lineup. Riko Jeffers is set to lead a revamped defense. Improvement is around the corner.
Here’s how we see Texas Tech handling the 2020 schedule.
Sept. 5: at UTEP
The Miners rank as one of the worst teams in America. Texas Tech is more than up to the challenge.
Prediction: Win (1-0)
Sept. 12: Alabama State
Fun fact: Alabama State produced Houston Texans All-Rookie offensive tackle Tytus Howard. He won’t be much help in this one.
Prediction: Win (2-0)
Sept. 19: Arizona
Star QB Khalil Tate is gone, leaving the Wildcats with unproven Texas high school football product Grant Gunnell. This is a critical opportunity for the Red Raiders to gain some momentum before conference play.
Prediction: Win (3-0)
Sept. 26: at Iowa State
Playing Iowa State earlier in the year is better than late, when the Cyclones peak. Still, Brock Purdy, Breece Hall and a fantastic defense will have Iowa State in the conversation for a Big 12 championship.
Prediction: Loss (3-1)
Oct. 3: West Virginia
West Virginia is breaking in a new quarterback – Seth Doege’s brother, no less – but the Mountaineers have one of the best defensive lines in the Big 12. Still, Texas Tech has the weapons to punish WVU’s inconsistent secondary.
Prediction: Win (4-1)
Oct. 15: Baylor
Last season’s matchup in Waco became a rallying cry for all the wrong reasons. A botched “snap infraction” call cost Tech a chance at the game. Call this one a true 50-50 slobberknocker – but Baylor is just a little further along roster-wise.
Prediction: Loss (4-2)
Oct. 24: Texas
Texas Tech just needs to get one during this brutal midseason stretch. Beating the hated Longhorns at home? That would more than do the trick. Texas Tech hasn’t beaten Texas in Lubbock since that fateful game in 2008, but the Red Raiders have the firepower to get under Texas’ skin for one night.
Prediction: Win (5-2)
Oct. 31: at Oklahoma State
Going to Stillwater is never easy. Going to Stillwater to face off against one of Mike Gundy’s best teams ever in a revenge spot? Even worse.
Prediction: Loss (5-3)
Nov. 7: at Kansas State
Texas Tech came just short of a big comeback against Kansas State a year ago. With the game now heading to Manhattan, the Red Raiders have a tougher task.
Prediction: Loss (5-4)
Nov. 14: Kansas
Texas Tech just needs this game to make a bowl. The botched finish to the 2019 matchup kept the Red Raiders from a bowl game, but that won’t happen again in 2020. Texas Tech will be a step better – Kansas will be a step worse.
Prediction: Win (6-4)
Nov. 21: at TCU
The last time Texas Tech played in Fort Worth, Jett Duffey had the game of his life against TCU’s defense. Unfortunately, David Yost’s spread system doesn’t much up well against the defensive back talent TCU returns, including Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year contender Trevon Moehrig-Woodard.
Prediction: Loss (6-5)
Nov. 28: Oklahoma
The Sooners are the best program in the Big 12 every year, and the Red Raiders get OU late in the year, with plenty of time for Spencer Rattler to get acclimated.
Prediction: Loss (6-6)
Bowl Prediction: First Responder Bowl vs. Pitt
Getting back to a bowl game will be a big step for the Red Raiders, but the reward won’t be easy. All-conference first-team defenders Jaylen Twyman and Paris Ford are back to lead what should be an excellent defense. The Panthers have also been in bowl games consistently; the First Responder Bowl marks a learning opportunity.
Prediction: Loss (6-7)
Record Prediction: 6-7, 3-6 Big 12
The Red Raiders will take a step forward by making a bowl game in Matt Wells’ second season. Getting Alan Bowman back and returning key experience at the skill positions will help the offense take a step forward to match the defense.
However, the schedule makes this proposition difficult. The only games where Texas Tech will be heavily favored are against UTEP, Alabama State and Kansas. After that, it’s all about pulling upsets and winning 50-50 games. Wells sold fans on building a long-term foundation. Year two is the next step.
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