Texas Tech and TCU Battle for the What Now?
I consider myself a pretty big Texas Tech football fan. I can hold my own in a conversation about the Red Raiders' current team, the Kingsbury Era, the Tuberville Terror, and Mike Leach's turn at the helm of the Jolly Rogers. I mean the Jones.
The Spike era is remembered fondly but it's mostly revisionist history with fuzzy memories of actually being there. Spike got the Red Raider coaching job three years before I got the job of being human. He was better at his job than I am at mine. I do remember attending games during my formative years but I mostly remember laughing with my dad at the latest Spike punchline at a press conference even though I had no idea what Spike meant most of the time. I have the suspicion my dad didn't either.
Still, I know the names of lore and the Hall of Famers. I'm not bragging, I'm just setting up my next statement. What the hell is the Battle for the Saddle?
Allegedly the Red Raiders and Horned Frogs played for a saddle trophy from 1961-1970 before it mysteriously disappeared according to Texas Tech. Then after nearly 50 years of not giving a flying flip about the rivalry trophy the schools brought it back in 2017. Despite playing 29 times between trophy presentations. For what it's worth the Red Raiders were 20-9 in that stretch of saddleless battles.
Since the Saddle has been returned to its... glory... the Horned Frogs have walked away with it in both trips to Lubbock while the Red Raiders own the Saddle in 100% of the games played in Fort Worth since 2017. In fact, the Red Raiders are .500 against TCU since they've joined the Big 12 including a 3-1 record in Fort Worth. We won't mention the 2014 game beyond saying Amon G. Carter stadium ran out of fireworks and not in a fun way.
Still, a 4-4 record against TCU makes it one of the more even Big 12 matchups since 2012 that Texas Tech has been a part of. This year, the Red Raiders enter the weekend as huge underdogs with the line hovering around -9 for TCU. To say I understand that would be a lie.
TCU beat Texas sure, but the Red Raiders were up 15 with three minutes left so I don't think that's a matchup that makes TCU look nearly double-digit points better than Texas Tech. Offensively, the Red Raiders score a touchdown more than TCU per game and defensively I think Texas Tech can look more like they did against West Virginia than they did against Oklahoma.
Max Duggan has more experience than Henry Colombi in the Big 12, his stats though certainly don't jump off the page in an offense that struggles to find its identity with three different voices chiming in for the gameplan.
To me, this game will be close with five of the last eight matchups between the two teams being decided by three points or less. Matt Wells struggles are well known in one-possession games, but Gary Patterson and TCU are 2-8 in their last 10 one-possession games. So I can't lay the game on that and call it a day.
This game will come down to a big play in the 4th quarter and I think TCU's secondary is more equipped to get that big play and the TCU kicker has made a field goal this season while Texas Tech's Trey Wolff has not.
TCU 31 - Texas Tech 28
The Red Raiders cover but fall in a tough one in Fort Worth.