Any time a new coach steps into a new job, the first-year results must go down with a large grain of salt. As head coach Joey McGuire inches closer to his first game as a college football head coach, defining success should go beyond wins and losses in year one. And while progress can be measured in a few different ways, they will still be keeping score on that famous Double T scoreboard. So what is the Texas Tech ceiling and floor for 2022? Just how good of a season/bad of a season could be possible under McGuire in year one?
Glance At Schedule
The way the Texas Tech football schedule shakes out plays a significant factor in what is possible this year. What opponent, when they fall on the schedule, and who comes to Lubbock all have an impact on the potential of this season.
- Week 1: Murray State
- Week 2: Houston
- Week 3: at NC State
- Week 4: Texas
- Week 5: at Kansas State
- Week 6: at Oklahoma State
- Week 7: Bye
- Week 8: West Virginia
- Week 9: Baylor
- Week 10: at TCU (Obligatory notes about cactus emoji)
- Week 11: Kansas
- Week 12: at Iowa State
- Week 13: Oklahoma
One thing is for certain, the Texas Tech season ticket holders have to be thrilled with a home schedule. Season ticket holders will not be short-changed in 2022 with the quality of opponents.
Texas Tech Ceiling: Best Since 2009
Optimism has blanketed this program ever since McGuire brought his passion to this program. The quarterback room is loaded, although no telling who the starter will be. The secondary is talented and experienced. The Texas Tech Ceiling looks very promising. In order for the Red Raiders to reach that ceiling, the entire offense has to pick up Zach Kittley’s system like they have been running it for years. A rebuilt offensive line also needs to gel quickly. Defensively, Texas Tech was one of the nation’s worst pass-rushing teams in 2021. With Tim DeRuyter coaching the defense up, he unlocks new potential for all 11 starters.
Building off of a solid start against Murray State, the Red Raiders keep the momentum going against a very good Houston team. Texas Tech then heads to Railegh and plays the Wolfpack close, but ultimately loses a close-fought game. But this game is the one that illustrates to the players and fan base that this team can compete with anyone else on their schedule. Behind a raucous crowd, Texas Tech takes down Texas at home, finishing September 3-1.
Winning Streak Builds Irrational Optimism
Back-to-back road tilts against the Wildcats and Cowboys would prove hard for any Big 12 team this year, so Tech only splits those remaining games. They come out of the bye week at 4-2 but are fresh consecutive home games. The offense continues to be one of the nation’s best and takes down West Virginia and Baylor. A road trip to Fort Worth feels more like a home game with the (projected) sea of Red in Amon G. Carter stadium.
With three games remaining the Red Raiders are 7-2. Kansas at home turns out to be a tune-up game before traveling to Iowa State. Upon arriving in Ames, a potential spot in the Big 12 title game looms large with Oklahoma the following week. The last time Texas Tech won in Ames was in 2014, and it stays that way after Tech stubs its toes and falls to 8-3. With the Big 12 balloon popped, and much of the student section back home for Thanksgiving break, Oklahoma comes to Lubbock and delivers the Red Raiders its worse loss of the season. But an 8-4 regular season record would be the best since 2009. It might end in a disappointing manner, but Tech fans would have to be thrilled with this type of season.
Texas Tech Floor: “Wait…They Got Rid Of Wells For This?”
There are plenty of reasons why Texas Tech has only gone to a bowl game three times in the last nine seasons. Those same reasons are the Red Raiders have not won more than eight regular season games since 2009. And for as happy as Red Raider fans would be if the Texas Tech ceiling is reached, if they fall flat to the floor it will be a long 2022. As talented as the quarterback room is, none of them have proven they can play at a consistently high-level week in and week out.
Both sides of the ball are learning a new scheme. The offensive line is truly being rebuilt, and typically they don’t come together that quickly. Did I mention they were one of the worst teams in all of FBS at rushing the quarterback? Hard to upgrade the talent drastically in just one season, even in the transfer portal.
So just how dirty is this floor going to be? Even with a week one win, a motivated Houston team looking to avenge last year’s game stops any momentum from even building. Texas Tech then travels to NC State; a team that very well could win the ACC this year. This is the game that shows just how far behind Texas Tech is from being relevant nationally. Texas welcomes Tech back home with another beat down. Maybe not a 70-point effort, but Texas proves it is ready to make the jump back into Big 12 contention with a decisive victory.
1-4 And No Relief In Sight
A team licking its wounds gets zero relief as they come out of September. Two tough opponents on the road lead to a revolving door at quarterback. Oh, and the defense still can’t get to the quarterback. Texas Tech limps to a 1-6 record by the time the bye week shows up mercilessly. But McGuire and the staff use the bye week to get things right and get win number two against West Virginia. However, just as soon as the winning taste returns, Baylor takes it away the following week because the Texas Tech Fightin’ Cactus is more concerned about stomping out the Horned Frogs the following week.
The game that was circled back in July turns out to be another bright spot for the Red Raiders. Kansas comes to Lubbock and gives Texas Tech its only consecutive wins on the season. The Red Raiders’ struggles at Iowa State have already been noted. Those continuing on the Texas Tech floor. With Oklahoma coming to town, many fans will be looking to chalk this up to first-year growing pains. Which will only be driven home by a thorough beat down by the Sooners. Texas Tech finishes year one in the McGuire era with a 4-8 record. This would be the third time in the last four seasons the Red Raiders finish the year with only four wins.
So Where Will Texas Tech Finish?
Basic math said Texas Tech will finish somewhere between both ends of the spectrum. There is just as much of a likely hood that the Red Raiders find a way to beat Texas and lose to Kansas at home. The non-conference results are going to set the tone for the rest of this season. A 2-1 start is required if Texas Tech is going to make a bowl game this year. Kittley has proven he can get the offense to catch on quickly to his scheme. The offense should be a ton of fun to watch. With a defense that still won’t be considered “good” but will be improved, this team should finish right in the middle of the Texas Tech ceiling and floor at 6-6.