Game Preview: Texas Tech Red Raiders vs Texas Longhorns
Who: The Texas Longhorns and The Texas Tech Red Raiders
Where: Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas
How to watch: FOX
When: Friday, November 24th, 7 p.m.
Broadcaster Team: Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman and Holly Sanders
What pregame show to listen to: 1340 The Fan’s Countdown to Kickoff, 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, November 24th.
This game has nothing to do with the Texas Longhorns and everything to do with Kliff Kingsbury and his lack of success in must-win games. In the past, when the going gets tough and Kingsbury and the Red Raiders need a win to get to bowl season, it hasn't gone well.
In fact, in the Kingsbury Era, Big 12 road games have been notoriously tough with a 6-10 record. Since 2013 though, the Red Raiders have been to Austin twice and have a sparkly, by comparison, .500 record. The 2015 win was the first time there was a Red Raider celebration party on 6th Street since 1997.
In 2016, Texas Tech was better than Texas (on paper), but couldn't get a win against Charlie Strong's squad. The Red Raiders are again better than the Longhorns in 2017, but that doesn't mean that I think there will be any reason to celebrate.
I thought the Red Raiders were better than the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Kansas Wildcats, but obviously Texas Tech couldn't close those games out. Texas Tech's defense was better than the TCU offense -- or at least good enough to win the game. But the offense was a disaster.
The sample size was really small on Nic Shimonek coming into this season, but there is plenty of tape on the 5th year senior now. And if he's the starter in Austin, which is likely, we know what to expect. Kingsbury did bench Shimonek for the final few drives against TCU, but it was too little, too late.
'Too little, too late' might become a familiar phrase this off-season.
How Texas Tech Wins
Here's how Kliff Kingsbury can win on Saturday. It starts with a new quarterback. A more athletic, younger quarterback with a cool name. Either backup works, actually. Step two is to leave the special teams on the sideline and go for it on every 4th down and never attempt a field goal. Nothing is a given, obviously.
Next, score in the red zone by getting creative and running the ball inside the 5-yard line. I know it's wild, but it would be fun to try and Texas Tech has had some success with it in the past.
If Kingsbury can follow those three steps, the Red Raiders will have an opportunity to win in Austin.
What Texas Is Bringing to the Table
The Longhorns will have their starting tackle Connor Williams back after he had a dominant game last week against West Virginia. Also, Sam Ehlinger is back and rolling for the Longhorns, which isn't a positive for Texas Tech's chances in Austin.
Some mildly good news is that edge rusher Breckyn Hager is suspended for the first half of the game after being ejected for targeting against West Virginia last week.
The Longhorns became bowl eligible last week with their win over West Virginia, so it's only the Red Raiders post-season on the line this Friday instead of the win-or-go-home situation it was expected to be.
With Ehlinger and Williams back, I don't think the Texas Tech defense has any edge over the Longhorns offense like they would have had over Shane Buechele and no Connor Williams.
The line is sitting at +10 for the Red Raiders, with the Longhorns the double-digit favorites at home. I don't think the Red Raiders will cover and Kliff Kingsbury will fade into the cold, dark Austin night. The over/under is set for 55.5, which means the Longhorns will win 35-21, so I can hit the over.
Texas Tech Football Highlights from 2017