Texas Tech Football: Why Preseason Rankings offer a high ceiling in 2017

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 29: Nic Shimonek
LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 29: Nic Shimonek /

The Big 12 announced its Preseason Media Poll, and as expected, Texas Tech football is far behind the titans of the conference, but that could be a good thing.

Texas Tech Football has a long standing history of being ranked much lower than its talent reflects. Either the Red Raiders exceed expectations, or they meet expectations. It’s really quite simple, and years of meeting expectations has resulted in consistently low rankings.

Even in years where several teams have had near, or identical finishes in terms of wins and losses, Tech has still been at the bottom of the lists, so other than “style points,” what has to give for Tech to finally pull itself out of the bottom of the conference?

With a ceiling as high as Tech has headed into 2017, a few things have to happen, but the overarching issue here, is how their strategy will effect recruiting and momentum.

The full Big 12 Preseason Poll is as follows:

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Oklahoma State
  3. Kansas State
  4. Texas
  5. TCU
  6. West Virginia
  7. Baylor
  8. Texas Tech
  9. Iowa State
  10. Kansas

Oklahoma sits at the top of the preseason polls of the second consecutive season, and marks the fifth time since 2011 where the Sooners have led the conference in the preseason. With lofty expectations for new Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley, that puts teams that have come close to defeating Bob Stoops’ Sooners over the years in a good position.

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That’s not to say wins are in the bag, as Oklahoma has a favorable back loaded home advantage schedule this season, however, the stakes have been raised significantly for all Big 12 coaches.

For Texas Tech, the stakes have also been raised significantly, especially with Kliff Kingsbury in the hot seat.

Administrators would much rather take buyout money and roll it into raises and bonuses for Texas Tech Football coaches. The support staff knows that if they want that money, however, accountability for their units needs to be increased, too.

As we’ve mentioned several times throughout the offseason, Kingsbury is doing his job, but especially on the defensive side, there’s a lot to be desired, and unfortunately, the nature of the beast means the pressure lies on one person.

Preseason predictions largely reflect general expectations, however, even with the loss of Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, Texas Tech has a lot of tools to work with to rise in the polls this season. Moreover, it has the urgency to win.

For players, they know if they aren’t 110 percent buying into the process, they’re mortgaging their own futures in football; if Kingsbury is replaced, there’s no guarantee any of those players will see the field in 2018, or beyond.

If those aren’t gut-check realities, I don’t know what is.

What we can all draw from the rankings is that they provide a ton of room for Tech to grow this season. Things can’t possibly get any worse, and with the renewed motivation, renovated facilities, and restored urgency, the sky truly is the limit.

Big 12 Media Days are July 17-18 in Frisco, Texas, so stay tuned to Wreck ‘Em Red for all the action and highlights.