The Texas Tech Red Raider season win total for the 2017 season was set at 5.5 wins. After a thrilling come-from-behind victory on the road at Texas, Texas Tech got that 6th win and bowl eligibility. They lost to South Florida in the Birmingham Bowl to drop their record to 6-7 but were a decent 7-6 against the spread for the season. Texas Tech has now had back-to-back losing seasons and only 1 winning season in the last 4 years. The lack of a winning season has put head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s job at risk, but after upsetting Texas to end the regular season, he is back for his 6th season. If he wants a chance at a 7th season coaching at his alma mater, then he will need to get to a bowl game at the minimum.
Sure enough, oddsmakers have set the season total right at 6 or 6.5 wins. BetOnline has 6.5 (135/-155), 5Dimes has 6.0 (-153/105) and BetDSI has 6.0 (-120/-110). Keep in mind that these win totals do not include bowl games or conference championship games. But I don’t think Texas Tech will have to worry about the conference championship game as they are +3300 to win the conference and 1000-1 to win the college football playoff, both of which can be found at 5Dimes.
They have starters back everywhere except at the skill positions as the Red Raiders return 10 starters on defense, including their top 8 tacklers from 2017. The offense has 6 starters returning but will have a new starting quarterback and replace last season’s leading rusher as well as their top two receivers. This will be no easy task, but Texas Tech has proven its ability to repeat offensive success after losing top players to graduation and the NFL.
|Date||Opponent||BangTheBook Line||Expected Wins|
|9/1||Ole Miss (neutral)||+4||0.381|
|9/22||@ Oklahoma State||+9.5||0.245|
|10/11 (Thurs)||@ TCU||+13.5||0.165|
|11/17||@ Kansas State||+9||0.25|
Total Expected Wins: 4.93
Kevin John is the new offensive coordinator but that shouldn’t change the air raid attack too much. McLane Carter is the only signal caller with in-game inexperience, but it’s no guarantee that he will be the starter. Jett Duffey will contend for the job, but regardless of who is the starter, expectations will be to match or improve on last year’s numbers, which saw them average 324 passing yards a game, which was 3rd best in the conference and 10th best in the nation. A big strength this upcoming season should be the offensive line as all starters return and have a combined 93 starts.
The big question for the offense will be the production from the receivers. Keke Coutee had 1,429 yards last season (4th best in the country) and left early to the NFL. Dylan Cantrell was second on the team with 816 yards and left early for the NFL. Combined, Texas Tech will have to replace 164 receptions, 2,245 yards, and 17 touchdowns. TJ Vasher leads a wide receivers group that has talent but lacks experience. If the offense can’t gel or produce, it may be a long season for Texas Tech.
With 10 starters returning on defense, Texas Tech’s defense might actually be a strong suit for this team….by Texas Tech’s standards at least. Defensive coordinator David Gibbs will be excited for this team as they had 29 turnovers in 2017. That led the conference and was 6th best in the nation. While they may have some regression from 29 takeaways, they may improve elsewhere as they allowed 444 yards per game and 32.2 points per game last season, both good for 8th in the conference.
With so much experience back this season at every position, Texas Tech will look to improve and not have to rely so heavily on takeaways, and in a conference where most of the teams look to out-score the opponent rather than stop them, any improvement helps.
The schedule is rough and is one of the more difficult in the country. To start, they take on Ole Miss at a neutral site in Houston, TX. Then they get their cupcake in Lamar and then another tough non-conference game against Houston at home. After the mid-season bye week, they have 3 straight games (2 of which are road games) against teams that are coming off of a bye and will be rested for the matchup. Immediately after that 3 game stretch, they face the big dogs of the conference, Oklahoma and Texas, in back to back games. One last thing to point out is the fact that they only have 6 true home games this season and one of those is against an FCS opponent.
Win Total Pick: Under 6.0 (5Dimes)
Using the BangTheBook lines for the season, the Red Raiders are only favored in 3 games and their expected win total for Texas Tech comes to 4.93 wins, giving some value on the under. This team has to replace virtually every skill position on offense and given their schedule, they can’t afford to learn on the fly. With their ceiling for the 2018 season likely at 6 wins, I will take the under at plus money at 5Dimes and hope the worst case scenario is a push.
-END OF 2018 PREVIEW-
Kliff Kingsbury’s four years at the helm of the Texas Tech’s football program can somewhat be categorized as ups and downs. Team ranked 6th in Big 12 with a 5-7 (3-6) last season but year before they ended the season bowl eligible. Coach obviously enjoys the trust of the Athletic Board but I’m not sure that he has what is needed to pull the Red Raiders out of constant mediocrity.
Nevertheless, this next season is poised to be a successful one if we look at the up and down trend over the last four years and it has the potential to be the breakout year having in mind the talent and experience of the squad.
TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY RED RAIDERS
- Eastern Washington Eagles (Sep. 2)
- OFF (Sep. 9)
- Arizona State Sun Devils (Sep.16)
- at Houston Cougars (Sep. 23)
- Oklahoma State Cowboys (Sep. 28)
- at Kansas Jayhawks (Oct. 7)
- at West Virginia Mountaineers (Oct. 14)
- Iowa State Cyclones (Oct. 21)
- at Oklahoma Sooners (Oct. 28)
- Kansas State Wildcats (Nov. 4)
- at Baylor Bears (Nov. 11)
- TCU Horned Frogs (Nov. 18)
- at Texas Longhorns (Nov. 25)
According to 5dimes Sportsbook Odds for 2017 Season Win Totals: 5; Over +100; Under -120;
Texas Tech Red Raiders Offense
The Texas Tech Red Raiders were the best offensive team in the NCAA last season averaging astonishing 564.5 yards per game and 6.50 yards per play. Reason for that is the fact that Patrick Mahomes who was picked as the 10th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, was their starting QB. Team averaged 463.0 passing yards per game (100 yards more than the second ranked Louisiana Tech) with 8.51 yards per attempt.
Mahomes recorded 5052 total yards along with 41 TD and 10 INTs. His completion percentage was 65.7 (388-591). Sophomore receiver Jonathan Giles profited most from Mahomes’s monster season and recorded 1158 receiving yards and 13 TDs.
Rushing offense on the other side was greatly neglected as team averaged only 101.5 yards per game and 3.13 yards per carry ranking 123th in the NCAA in this segment. Top rusher was freshman RB Da’Leon Ward who recorded 428 total yards (4.2 yards per carry) and we certainly expect more from him in his second year on the team.
Texas Tech Red Raiders Defense
On the defensive end of the field the Red Raiders were the worst team in the NCAA. This was the first time in NCAA’s history that one team leads the nation in offense and ranks last in the nation in defense. Team averaged 554.3 yards per game and 7.05 yards per play allowed (128th in the NCAA). Both passing and rushing defense were pretty awful as they averaged 315.8 passing yards (125th nationally) and 238.6 rushing yards (116th nationally) per game allowed.
Freshman LB Jordyn Brooks led the team in total tackle with 85 while sophomore DB Jah’Shawn Johnson ranked second in total tackles recording team-high 2 INTs in the process. If Red Raiders don’t improve their defense, without Patrick Mahomes’s offensive miracle performances the team could find itself at the bottom of conference and NCAA rankings.
On the special teams, the Red Raiders averaged 17.46 yards per kickoff return with no TD returns (122nd nationally). They averaged solid 9.50 yards per punt return (6th in Big 12 and 39th nationally). Their kickoff return defense was pretty bad as they ranked 100th in the NCAA with 22.61 yards per kickoff allowed. Punt return defense was on the other side somewhat average as they allowed 8.40 yards per punt, ranking 75th nationally.
Senior WR Reginald Davis III specialized in kick returns recording 272 total yards (19.4 yards per return) but he switched his Red raiders’ jersey with Atlanta Falcons’ one. Possible successor might be WR Cameron Batson who led the team in punt returns last season, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt. He is entering his senior year at the team and he will certainly strive to improve his numbers.
Fifth year at the helm of Red Raiders is coming its way for Kliff Kingsbury and the everlasting question continues to loom. How to improve his teams’ defense? Adding David Gibbs in 2015 as defensive coordinator clearly didn’t make much impact and it looks like Kingsbury doesn’t have many options left.
Only thing that keeps his job safe is the fact that since 2011, when he started to manage offensive coordinator roles for the teams that appointed him, his offenses averaged 550 yards and nearly 42 points per game. We’ll see how long will this be enough for the TTU.
Team’s departures and recruits
- Patrick Mahomes, junior QB, declared for the 2017 NFL draft and was picked by Kansas City Chiefs in the first round as 10th overall pick.
- Reginald Davis III, senior WR, declared for the 2017 NFL draft and was signed as an undrafted free agent by Atlanta Falcons.
- Ondre Pipkins, senior DT, declared for the 2017 NFL draft and was signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington Redskins.
- Zach Barnes, senior DL, graduated.
5, Dylan Cantrell, senior WR, graduated.
- Kyle Heffron, senior LS, graduated.
- Tony Morales, senior OL, graduated.
- D.J. Polite-Bray, senior DB, graduated.
- Tyler Scalzi, senior FB, graduated.
- Nic Shimonek, senior QB, graduated.
- Luce Stice, senior LB, graduated.
- Keenon Ward, senior DB, graduated.
- Quinton White, senior RB, graduated.
- Kris Williams, senior DL, graduated.
- Derrick Willies, senior WR, graduated.
- Caleb Woodward, senior RB, graduated.
- Zach Austin, senior WR, graduated.
- Paul Banks III, senior DB, graduated.
- Cameron Batson, senior WR, graduated.
- Baylen Brown, senior OL, graduated.
- Malik Jenkins, senior LB, graduated.
- Justis Nelson, senior DB, graduated.
- Thierry Nguema, senior DB, graduated.
- Justin Stockton, senior RB, graduated.
- Mychealon Thomas, senior DL, graduated.
There were 11 enrolled players and 8 players who were signed after the letter of intent.
- Jack Anderson, OG, Frisco, Frisco, TX;
- Octaviuos Morgan, CB, Butler C.C., El Dorado, KS;
- Xavier Martin, DUAL, Steele, Cibolo, TX;
- Will Farrar, OG, Fort Bend Travis, Richmond, TX;
- Dawson Deaton, OC, Frisco, Frisco, TX;
- Jaylon Lane, CB, Independence, Independence C.C., KS;
- Nelson Mbanasor, SDE, Hendrickson, Pflugerville, TX;
- Vaughnte Dorsey, S, Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C., Perkinston, MS;
- McLane Carter, PRO, Tyler J.C., Tyler, TX;
- Tony Jones, OLB, Butler C.C., El Dorado, KS;
- Jacob Hines, OG, Long Beach City College, Long Beach, CA;
- Robert Hudson, OT, Walled Lake Western, Walled Lake, MI;
Signed Letter of intent:
- Quincy Addison, S, Angleton, Angleton, TX;
- Riko Jeffers, ILB, Sachse, Sachse, TX;
- Dakota Allen, ILB, East Mississippi C.C., Scooba, MS;
- Casey Verhulst, OT, Plano East, Plano, TX;
- John Davis, CB, Trinity, Euless, TX;
- Desmond Nisby, RB, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA;
- Adrain Frye, CB, Aldine Eisenhower, Houston, TX;
- Dominic Panazzolo, P, Snow College, Ephraim, UT;
Total wins predictions
Without Patrick Mahomes who went to the NFL, the Red Raiders football program this year might be in jeopardy. Mahomes was the only reason for the team’s relative successes last year and if someone doesn’t step in right away to lead this offense, TTU might end up as the worst team in Big 12. We’ll see if Kingsbury has couple of aces down his sleeve but my pick here is under 5 total wins.
Total wins prediction: 5, Under -120.