What better way for a fan of college football to pass the dead of off season than to throw out his predictions for the upcoming season? I figured I'd bring you predictions on how I think Tech will fare in the 2007 regular season in this edition of "Season Predictions," followed by predictions for all other Big XII teams, as well as teams of note, in upcoming editions. This edition will be special in that it contains two sets of predictions: a logical, look at the numbers prediction, and a Kool Aid prediction. So without further ado: Season Predictions for 2007 Football - Texas Tech.
at SMU - WIN - Red Raiders start their season at Ford Stadium in what may prove to be a tough game on the road. SMU ended the 2006 season with a loss to long time rival Rice, but still ended the season bowl eligible at 6-6. The Raiders have had trouble in the past getting the Air Raid kick-started in Dallas, and you can expect this to be much of the same, live on ESPN. However, expect a few balls to bounce Tech's way as well as a few breaks, proving to be enough for the win.
vs UTEP - WIN - No more Jordan Palmer, but you can still expect Mike Price to come to Lubbock with an effective game plan. There is a 5 way battle in El Paso for the starting position at QB, and it is probably one of the most heated battles in the country with 3 very capable starters in Sam Lorne (Florida State transfer who threw for a TD on an end around vs Tech in 2006), Kyle Wright, and Trevor Vittatoe, a very crisp and accurate passer. Expect one of the latter two get get the nod, with Lorne coming in for plays that require a mobile QB. However, Tech will have the edge in a hostile environment not seen in the rest of the Conference USA.
at Rice - WIN - Rice experienced a successful 2006 season by Owl standards, but expect there to be a return to mediocrity with a change in the coaching staff. Red Raiders should have the Air Raid clicking by now. This one could get ugly.
at Oklahoma State - LOSS - Okie Lite has made strides in the recruiting arena recently and expect it to start paying off for them in 2007. The Cowpokes have had Tech's number recently in Stillwater, costing the Red Raiders a shot at a BCS Bowl in 2005 with their only conference win that season.
vs Northwestern Louisiana - WIN - Tech gets to lick its wounds from the OSU game and get to trounce on the Demons. This one should be over by halftime, with the backups getting extended playing time in the second half.
vs Iowa State - WIN - Gene Chizik won't have the kind of talent at ISU that he did in Austin. You don't pick a winnable game for Homecoming for nothing.
vs Texas A&M - TOSSUP - If Stephen McGee somehow learns how to pass between now and then, it can make for a long day for the Raiders (as if it weren't already). The Aggies will control the clock with a methodical ground attack, so the Raiders will have to make efficient use of their time with the ball. This game has all the makings of another classic between the two teams, and there is a very strong chance that ESPN may exercise their option to air a Big XII Prime Time game that day should both teams come into the game with 1 loss or less. Right now, it's just too close to call, even considering the fact that the Aggies haven't won in Lubbock since 1993 (WOW! I was only 11 years old!).
at Missouri - LOSS - The last time the Red Raiders played at Mizzou, Michael Jordan was their Quarterback.
Sophomore quarterback Brad Smith did the damage for Missouri, using quarterback draws and counter keepers to run for 291 yards and five touchdowns.
[Texas Tech Defensive Coordinator Lyle] Setencich said he didn't think his players stopped trying. But they didn't get the job done either.
"It's like you try to guard Michael Jordan," Setencich said, comparing Smith to the NBA legend. "I don't imagine you can. I can't either."
Mobile QBs seem to have a number on Setencich coached defenses of late. This is going to be a long day for Tech as Mizzou QB Chase Daniel should flourish within the friendly turf of Faurot Field.
vs Colorado - WIN - A little payback is in order for the Red Raiders embarrassing loss to the Buffaloes in Boulder in 2006. Rest assured that the Raiders will not be caught overlooking a Colorado team that should be better this season than in their last campaign.
at Baylor - WIN - The globe-trotting Michael Machen (Kent State transfer) looks to be a real contender to Quarterback the Bears' aerial assault, although Black Szymanski, who ran the show after Shawn Bell went down with an injury in 2006, may have something to say about that. The Bears will still be a year away from seriously contending in the Big XII South, though.
at Texas - TOSSUP - UT's season will be contingent upon the health of the Offensive Line, which has had a rough offseason. A healthy Colt McCoy paired with a dangerous Jamal Charles in the backfield will prove unstoppable at times. The real question will be in the Defensive Backfield, which saw several players drafted by the NFL despite its low rankings as a unit the the Big XII. Should that unit struggle again this year, you can anticipate a repeat of the 2003 contest in Austin which saw BJ Symons throw all over the 'Horn defense en-route to a narrow loss. Texas Tech's kicking game has greatly improved since that game, so give Tech the edge should it come down to a last minute FG.
vs Oklahoma - LOSS - I'm tempted to change this to a TOSSUP, but that will all depend on the performance of the Sooner Offense during the course of the season. The Sooners lose All-Big XII Running Back Adrian Peterson to the NFL and will have a new Quarterback under center for the 4th time in as many years.
You wouldn't be much of a college football fan if you didn't drink Kool Aid every once in a while!
at SMU - WIN
vs UTEP - WIN
at Rice - WIN
at OSU - WIN - What traditions do the Cowboys plan on stealing this year? Cowboys prove that throwing all the money in the world at a program doesn't equate to more wins.
vs Northwestern State - WIN
vs Iowa State - WIN
vs Texas A&M - WIN - Aggies haven't won in Lubbock in 14 years and it ain't gonna start this year. It's like a Bermuda Triangle for them. If this game is on ESPN Prime Time, it'll prove to the rest of the nation that Texas Tech football has passed A&M on by a long time ago.
at Missouri - TOSSUP - Maybe we can finally get a win in the state of Missouri.
vs Colorado - WIN
at Baylor - WIN
at UT - WIN - Graham Harrell throws all over UT's defense, setting the stage for a Big XII South Title match-up with OU.
vs OU - WIN - Jones AT&T Stadium is unwelcoming to the Land Thieves as they crack under pressure.
Big XII Title Game vs Nebraska - WIN - Welcome back to Texas, Huskers. Red Raider fans show up in droves, outnumbering Husker fans 2:1 as both shades of Red bleed in the stands. Bill Callahan's coaching staff won't have a solution to the Air Raid as Husker QB Sam Keller fails under pressure.