Texas Tech is coming off an 8-5 year in 2022, its best finish since Kliff Kingsbury led them to the same record in 2013.
The Red Raiders return 17 starters from last year’s squad and have plenty of confidence that they can improve on that record in their second year under Joey McGuire.
The Red Raiders were picked to finish fourth in the Big 12 this season by the conference’s media and look like a prime contender to make the Big 12 Championship this December.
However, there are some who believe that Texas Tech could be in store for much more than that this year.
During an interview on ESPN’s First Take, college football analyst Heather Dinich named Texas Tech as a dark horse contender for the College Football Playoff this season.
“I would throw out Texas Tech because they could be a surprise in the Big 12,” Dinich said, naming her dark horse candidates for the CFP this season. “Boosters are pouring all kinds of money into that program.”
It hasn’t been that long since the Big 12 has sent a team flying under the radar to the Playoff. In 2022, TCU went 12-0 through the regular season and still got into the CFP after losing in the Big 12 Championship game.
Could Texas Tech make a similar run in 2023?
In theory, the schedule sets up for Texas Tech to make a legitimate run at a playoff appearance. While Wyoming and Tarleton State aren’t the kind of teams that the Playoff Committee wants to see on your nonconference schedule, Oregon certainly is.
The Red Raiders play host to Dan Lanning’s Ducks on September 9, in what could be a ranked vs. ranked matchup. If Texas Tech can win that game, and then run through their Big 12 slate with one loss or less, they likely would be playing in the Big 12 Championship with a spot in the Playoff on the line.
However, with Baylor, Kansas State, TCU, and Texas all on the schedule, that will be easier said than done. Still, you won’t catch me counting Joey McGuire’s squad out of anything heading into 2023 after the job he did in Year 1.