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Texas Tech

Red Raiders

College Football

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Texas Tech was at opposite ends of the spectrum on each side of the ball last season, and that was expected going into the season. The Red Raiders scored 43.7 points per game, but also gave up 43.5 points per game, the most in the country. That led to a disappointing 5-7 record with a 66-10 loss to Iowa State standing out. The problem is that the offense will likely take a step back without Patrick Mahomes this season.

Nic Shimonek will keep the offense rolling and did just that in limited appearances last season, but it’s hard to see him getting this group back to the same levels as with Mahomes. Another issue is that Tech lost its top receiver Jonathan Giles (1,158 yards, 13 TDs), who transferred to LSU, as well as Tony Brown. Sure, Keke Coutee, Dylan Cantrell and Cameron Batson are still there, but Giles stood out among the rest last year. The goal for the offense will be to get some kind of ground game going with Da’Leon Ward, who led the way with just 428 yards and three touchdowns, as well as Justin Stockton. For this team not to take a step back, it’s going to fall on the running game. The Red Raiders return three starters along the offensive line and that should be enough for them to focus a little bit more on something other than passing.

The question will be if Texas Tech can get any better on the defensive end. If not, reaching six wins could be difficult. The line lost one of its top guys through transfer, which doesn't help, but there was some life in the spring, although there’s still a long way to go. There’s a bit more hope at linebacker with leading tackler Jordyn Brooks back to go with D’Vonta Hinton and a couple JUCO transfers. Of course, the secondary is another problem after getting absolutely torched in 2016. There are plenty of starters returning, but that doesn’t mean much given how things worked out for them.

Even if Shimonek comes in gunning with success, it’s not going to be an easy start to the season. None of Tech’s non-conference games are guaranteed with both EWU and ASU able to put points on the board, while Houston is a solid overall team. It would be nice to beat OK State in the Big 12 opener, but it’s hard to see this defense coming through against any of the good offenses in the conference. With a number of players transferring away, this has all the makings of a tough season for the Red Raiders.

They won three conference games with Mahomes last season and will probably be around that total again with a bowl appearance a stretch. Their best chances for Big 12 wins will come at home against Iowa State and Kansas State, and of course the game against Kansas. And even then, none of those games are freebies. If the defense doesn't make a notable improvement, this could be another four or five win season for Texas Tech. The odds at 5Dimes Sportsbook have the Red Raiders near the bottom of the standings again with +11000 odds to win the Big 12 in Kliff Kingsbury’s fifth season.


2017 Texas Tech Red Raiders Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Eastern Washington
Sept. 16 vs. Arizona State
Sept. 23 at Houston
Sept. 30 vs. Oklahoma State

Oct. 7 at Kansas
Oct. 14 at West Virginia
Oct. 21 vs. Iowa State

Oct. 28 at Oklahoma
Nov. 4 vs. Kansas State
Nov. 11 vs. Baylor (AT&T Stadium)
Nov. 18 vs. TCU
Nov. 24 at Texas

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