There’s a strange feeling emanating from the Texas Tech football fan base this year; something known as optimism. If it is hard to recognize, don’t be ashamed. After all, it’s been quite a long time since the majority of the Red Raider populace has entered a season wearing scarlet and black-colored glasses.
In fact, you could argue that we would have to go all the way back to 2009 to find a season in which so many Tech fans were drinking the Kool-Aid. That year, the program was coming off of the magical ride that was the 2008 season and it appeared as if Mike Leach had figured out how to build a national contender in Lubbock. Thus, we were all thinking that the good times were going to last forever.
They didn’t, of course. In fact, they lasted only until late December of that year when Leach was fired. And since then, it’s been tough to get this fan base too fired up for Texas Tech football.
Perhaps one might point to the 2014 season as one that opened with significant optimism. That was the second year of the Kliff Kingsbury era and coming off of an 8-5 2013 season that saw Tech upset No. 14 Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl, the Red Raider fan base set records for season ticket sales.
But for sure, that would be the only year since the end of the Leach era that could compare with the optimism that seems to be quietly living in the mids of most Red Raider fans in 2021. But the key word is “quietly”.
Tech fans aren’t shouting from the rooftops our expectations for this year. We aren’t blowing up call-in shows or harassing so-called experts on social media demanding that the Red Raiders get the preseason respect that their roster’s talent level suggests they should.
Rather, we are sitting back with squinted eyes in case the seemingly stable and talented team that Matt Wells has assembled blows up in our face the way so many other Texas Tech football teams have over the past decade.
You can’t blame Tech fans for always worrying about when the other shoe is going to drop. That’s because it seems like this program has been annually snakebitten. For instance, when Leach finally seemed to have figured out how to get the absolute most out of this program, pride and egos on both sides put an end to his run in Lubbock.
Or when Tech hired Kingsbury, one of the hottest coaching commodities in the nation, the university did not put enough quality coaches and mentors around him for him to succeed. And when Kingsbury somehow managed to bring to West Texas a young man who would soon become the best QB on the planet, he was unable to build a defense that could give Pat Mahomes a shot at taking Tech football to new heights.
More recently, Tech has been unable to even have the same QB start every game for an entire season. In each of the last three seasons, the Red Raiders have had to start at least two different players at the game’s most important position, a recipe that led to losing seasons on all three occasions.
So being painfully aware of what can and often does go wrong for the Red Raiders, let’s take a look at four scenarios in which the 2021 season unravels and disappoints us all again. And we will start with the possibility of having to sing an all-too-familiar song.