Opinion: Texas Tech Will Win the Big 12 Title in 2015


Dec 30, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders players celebrate with the championship trophy after the 2013 Holiday Bowl against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Qualcomm Stadium. Texas Tech defeated Arizona State 37-23. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

All the excitement around the Texas Tech football program recently is palpable, and with good reason.

Coaches, players and fans alike are generating and spreading energy after a productive spring on and off the field. When you know who your quarterback is and you’re reeling in some of the best recruits in the country, enthusiasm is sure to follow. As you read this, less than 2,500 season tickets remain for the 2014 season and the athletic department is preparing to renovate the south end-zone of Jones AT&T Stadium with a new club-level. Exciting times in Lubbock.

That has me thinking in terms expectations for the next few years. The 2014 team is shaping up to be an offensive dynamo, with Davis Webb and Jakeem Grant forming what looks like the best QB-WR duo since Harrell and Crabtree.   That’s lucky, because the defense isn’t looking very promising. Sure, there will be help arriving in the summer with guys like Rika Levi and Nigel Bethel making their way to Lubbock, but that’s a huge gamble that may not pay off this season.

2015 could be a completely different story, however. All the stars may not align for the Red Raiders this season, but next year could be “the year” for a program that’s been on the verge for a long time. Here’s three reasons why I think Texas Tech will win the Big 12 title in 2015.


Tech is sure to make a big leap forward in Kingsbury’s second year, so imagine how much better they could be the year after that. Not only will Kingsbury be a year old and wiser, but guys like Wallerstedt, Smith and Morris (assuming you can keep them) will have another year to build their systems with guys they recruited.

Beyond the coaching staff, notable seniors with Big 12 starting experience will (hopefully) include Jakeem Grant, DeAndre Washington, Micah Awe, Branden Jackson, Le’Raven Clark, the Morales twins, Jared Kaster, Rika Levi, Brandon Thorpe and J.J. Gaines. With the exception of Levi and Thorpe, new JUCO signees who arrive this summer, all those guys are starting for you right now. Experience is hard to bet against.


Tech’s 2015 recruiting class is shaping up to be the best in school history, and it’s still 10 months away from fulfillment. Already, Kingsbury and Co. have hauled in two ESPN 300 prospects (double from the last two years combined) in quarterback Jarrett Stidham and defensive lineman Breiden Fehoko. There’s no telling what happens between now and signing day 2015, but it certainly feels like this class will end up being very special. Maybe one of the best in the country.

More and more, recruits are coming out of high school ready to contribute immediately at the next level. It may be unrealistic to expect a guy like Fehoko to start at nose tackle as a wet-nosed freshman, but he could be a nice rotation piece behind monsters like Rika Levi and Marcus Smith. Defense and quarterback play are the most import elements in every Big 12 title run.

Five of the last six champions have led the league in turnover margin, with Baylor last year (finished second) the lone exception, indicating talented and efficient quarterback play combined with aggressive and opportunistic defense produces championship teams. If Davis Webb – pushed by two very talented prospects in Patrick Mahomes and Stidham – can play to his lofty potential the next few seasons, his name could be up there along side Petty, Klein, Weedon, Landry, McCoy and Bradford.


Winning lots of football games is largely a product of timing. It’s no coincidence that the last three conference champs (Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor) won their trophies during an extended period of drought for the powerhouses in Austin and Norman. With a new coach at Texas fresh out of the American Athletic Conference and Bob Stoops likely entering the twilight years of his stay at Oklahoma, 2015 could be the perfect time for Tech to strike.

It may also help that guys like Bryce Petty, Tyler Lockett and maybe even Jonathan Gray will be gone after this year. Not having to face NFL talent on a weekly basis is nice, too. Of course, there’s always replacements on the way for Big 12, but the hope is that Tech can keep up in the talent-aquisition department moving forward. You’ll also play Kansas State, Oklahoma State and TCU at home in 2015, though I’m not really a subscriber to the notion of home-field advantage in football. The better teams usually win games no matter where they’re played.

If all these factors, combined with a little luck, play out the way I think they will over the next two seasons, Kingsbury and the Red Raiders will bring home Texas Tech’s first Big 12 Conference trophy in 2015.