Texas Tech football hasn’t been the same post-2008. Ever since going down to Oklahoma in Norman to the dulcet tones of House of Pain, the Red Raiders haven’t had the same competitive edge and offensive prowess that defined the early Mike Leach era.
However, that doesn’t mean the last five years haven’t had exciting moments. On the contrary, each season the Red Raiders manage to upset someone by playing above their heads when the whole world was sure they couldn’t do it. Here’s what we believe are the best games from each of the last five seasons, based mostly on level of competition and excitement.
2013: Tech vs. No. 14 Arizona State
After losing five straight to close out the regular season, almost everyone (including myself) had written off the Red Raiders for dead. We couldn’t have been more wrong. It wasn’t that elusive “perfect game” Kingsbury talked about all year, but it was enough to knock off the No. 14 Sun Devils by double digits and win back the critics.
2012: Tech vs. No. 23 TCU
The week before, Tech stunned then-No. 5 West Virginia at home, launching them into a showdown with No. 23 TCU in Fort Worth for the first meeting between the two old rivals since 2006. What ensued was a knockdown, drag-out punching match that featured more momentum swings than Gary Patterson’s shoelaces.
2011: Tech vs. No. 3 Oklahoma
Very, very few teams walk into Norman and beat the Sooners on their own turf. Even fewer do it as 28-point underdogs. Precisely that happened on a rainy Saturday night in Oct. 2011 as the much maligned Red Raiders, fresh off two straight home losses, took the muddy field at Gaylord Family Memorial and snapped OU’s 39-game home winning streak.
2010: Tech vs. No. 12 Missouri
Tommy Tuberville’s first season as headman at Tech went about as planned, even with a couple of disappointing home losses to beatable Texas and Oklahoma State teams. However, it would have been much worse without this exciting victory over a very good Missouri squad late in the year.
2009: Tech vs. Michigan State
Technically this game was played the day after 2009 ended, but we’ll include it in the 2009 season for our discussion. It was the first Tech football game in nine years without Mike Leach on the sideline, but the Red Raiders didn’t lose a step against a good Spartan squad. Interim head coach Ruffin McNeill orchestrated an exciting Alamo Bowl win, closed out a mixed-bag year on a high note, and ended the Leach era.
Now the only question remains, which of these five games is the best? Which game was the biggest upset, the most outstanding performance, or had the best finish? Which game will you remember the most in five years?