In the land of college football, losing gets you nowhere. Teams do not tank for a better draft pick. Winning is all that matters. Winning is attractive. Only the rich get richer. And in Raiderland, Tech fans are busy buying scratch off tickets in bulk.
Fans of the Texas Tech Red Raiders did not have a lot to cheer about this 2014 season. With a 4-8 record and finishing in 8th in the Big XII, the Scarlet and Black would like to put this disappointing year behind them. Yet, under all the woes, there were a few glimpses of promise.
The quarterback controversy is something Tech fans are familiar with. It seemed as though every time sophomore and second year starter Davis Webb showed flashes of elite status, a mistake erased the thought quickly. Near season’s end, Webb suffered an injury that placed freshmen Patrick Mahomes on Fearless Champion’s saddle to lead the team out of the tunnel. His legs made him exciting to watch. But it wasn’t until the season finale against #7 Baylor, in Jerry World, where Mahomes really made his presence known. Mahomes threw for 598 yards, which broke Davis Webb’s record for a Big XII freshman, on 30/56 attempts. He also threw for 6 touchdowns. Even with the loss, the folks in Raiderland are ready to see who will take the reins next fall.
On the defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker Pete Robertson was an unstoppable force. Robertson brought something to Tech’s defense that had been hard to come by the past few years: a pass rush. Robertson led the Big XII with 12 sacks, ranking him sixth in the nation. Pete averaged one sack per game. He also acquired 81 tackles. Robertson, along with junior offensive lineman Le’Raven Clark, were both named to the All-Big XII team by the Associated Press. The last time a Texas Tech Red Raider amounted 12 sacks was Brandon Sharpe, who holds the school record at 15 during the 2009 season. The All-Big XII Linebacker looks to bring promise to next year’s defense. Hopefully for the Red Raiders, the rest of their front 7 can stop the run so Robertson can focus on getting into the backfield.
I believe that the 2015 season is going to be an exciting one for the Red Raiders. With the additions of All-Americans, defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko and dual-threat quarterback Jarrett Stidham, spring practice is going to be extremely competitive. While fighting for the top spot on the depth chart, these promising commits can only make the returning players better. Coach Kliff Kingsbury is finally assembling a team of his guys. The few players left from the Tommy Tuberville era are still essential pieces to the puzzle, but to make Kingsbury’s system work, the Red Raiders have to keep moving forward.
Tech’s student enrollment has grown immensely in the past couple of years as well. Since 2007, fall enrollment has gone from 28,260 to 35,134 for the fall of 2014, and is expected to grow next year. These numbers feed into one of the top student attendance rates for football games in the Big XII, and even the nation. With The Jones rocking with ‘Raider Power’ chants and more people across the nation joining the Red Raider family, Texas Tech’s recruiting and future looks as bright as a Saddle Tramp’s torch during Carol of Lights.