The 2018 season is slowly inching closer and it’s time for fans to start dreaming about the crisp, fall air and watching their favorite teams on the gridiron in the Big 12 Conference. Teams have turned over and have plenty of fresh faces. For some programs that’s a good thing, for others, not so much. But that’s part of the beauty of college football.
Let’s take a look at the Texas Tech Red Raiders, who might need a winning season for head coach Kliff Kingsbury to keep his job into 2019.
Saturday, September 1st vs. Ole Miss (Houston, TX)
It’s going to be far from the most anticipated Power 5 vs. Power 5 match up, but hey, any chance to beat an SEC team is a good one. Like Texas Tech, Ole Miss went 6-6 last season and is struggling to recover from sanctions stemming from the Hugh Freeze tenure. But the Texas Tech secondary will welcome the fact that they don’t have to face quarterback Shea Patterson, who transferred to Michigan.
Saturday, September 8th vs. Lamar
After a Power 5 neutral site game to open the season, the Red Raiders get to head home to the friendly confines of Jones AT&T Stadium to take on the Lamar Cardinals. Lamar finished the 2017 season with a 2-9 record at the FCS level. This should be no trouble for the Red Raiders.
Saturday, September 15th vs. Houston
Houston is one of the best Group of 5 programs in the nation. And this year, Houston gets one more, and likely its final season with star defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who is likely to begin the season in the Heisman conversation. Texas Tech won last season’s match up 27-24 on the road, but Major Applewhite is going to bring a very quality team to Lubbock. Kliff Kingsbury needs a 2-1 start before conference play to feel good about his future as leader of the program.
Saturday, September 22nd @ Oklahoma State
This will be an interesting test for both teams. TTU and OSU are both holding quarterback battles this summer and this will be our first look at both QBs in conference play. Also, this has been a team that has given Kingsbury, and his predecessors for that matter, fits. Oklahoma State has won nine in a row against Texas Tech. Granted the last two games have been decided by a total of eight points, but maybe this will be Kingsbury’s year to get over the Gundy hump.
Saturday, September 29th @ West Virginia
This is the second of three-straight Big 12 road games to open the season for the Red Raiders, and it’s a tough one. It’s also the fourth of five games to open the season away from Lubbock. Tech could be physically worn down by this time, and Morgantown is not the place for that to happen, especially with the offensive WVU is expected to have this fall. Since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12, Texas Tech won the first two meetings, but since then it’s been WVU winning four in a row.
Thursday, October 11th @ TCU
Texas Tech gets some well deserved time off before this match up in Fort Worth. The Red Raiders don’t have a traditional bye, instead they have two shortened bye weeks of sorts with this Thursday night match up. In this meeting last season, Kenny Hill didn’t play for TCU, but it didn’t much matter as TTU only mustered three points in a 27-3 loss to Shawn Robinson and the Horned Frogs.
Saturday, October 20th vs. Kansas
Maybe this is kind of like a bye week? But Texas Tech can’t be taking anyone for granted. However, even with TTU’s struggles in recent seasons, KU has been no problem at all, winning the past two seasons 55-19 and 65-19, respectively, in 2016 and 2017. Another easy win like that would do wonders for the Red Raiders, as a tough stretch of the schedule begins after this one.
Saturday, October 27th @ Iowa State
Kliff Kingsbury has been owned by Matt Campbell during his two seasons in Ames. There was the 66-10 thrashing two seasons ago and the 31-13 Iowa State win last year. Kingsbury would love to pick up a win here. If Texas Tech is 4-3 heading into this game and can pull off a win in Ames, Kingsbury will feel great about his job prospects heading into the final month of the season when the schedule doesn’t let up in the least. This is also the only time the Red Raiders will be outside of Lubbock between October 12th and November 16th.
Saturday, November 3rd vs. Oklahoma
Now it’s time for a meeting against the reigning three-time Big 12 Champions. Two years ago in Lubbock, Texas Tech held its own, but still came up short in a 66-59 loss to the Sooners. But with Baker Mayfield no longer around to have an extra big chip on his shoulder against his former team, maybe this opens the door for Tech to get back on track against OU, who it hasn’t beaten since 2011 when Tommy Tuberville was the head coach.
Saturday, November 10th vs. Texas
Texas Tech wraps up three of four home games, and it’s also Senior Night in Lubbock. Last season, these two teams met on Senior Night, but in Austin, and it may have been the game and win that kept Kingsbury employed. If Kingsbury’s season is not going as planned, then splitting the OU/Texas games could also help him dramatically with the fan base, boosters, and bosses. And the Longhorns are one team Kingsbury has handled well, winning two of the past three.
Saturday, November 17th @ Kansas State
A trip to Manhattan in late November is never easy. This is also Senior Night for the Wildcats. Could it also be Bill Snyder’s last game as head coach? Who knows, but there could be an enormous amount of emotion in this game for the home team. The last two meetings between these two have been decided by a touchdown or less, so sign me up for another close game.
Saturday, November 24th vs. Baylor (AT&T Stadium)
Texas Tech wraps up the season with a neutral site meeting against the Baylor Bears. This game could have bowl eligibility on the line for both teams. Tech has the all-time series edge at 38-37-1 and has won the last two meetings.