Texas Tech football: Best rebound seasons in program history

LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: A general view of Jones AT
LUBBOCK, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: A general view of Jones AT /
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This year, the Texas Tech football program will be hoping for a rebound season after going 5-7 in 2018.  Here are four times the Red Raiders were able to make significant one-year turnarounds like they aspire to do in 2019.

With the arrival of new head coach Matt Wells, there’s renewed optimism in the Texas Tech football program.  Regardless of how fans may have felt about Kliff Kingsbury (either as a man or as head coach), it was obvious that the vast majority of the fandom had lost confidence in his ability to ever take the program to the heights that we all expected when he was hired.

Now, Tech is faced with rebuilding after three-straight losing seasons.  What’s more, in the last decade, the program has endured five sub .500 campaigns after going from 1993-2010 without a losing record.

In all, Tech football has had 31 losing seasons since the program’s inception in 1925.  Of those, one belongs to Grady Higginbotham (1929), one to Pete Cawthorn (1930), five to Dell Morgan (1942-45, 1950), six to Dewitt Weaver (1952, 1956-60), three to J.T. King (1961-62, 1966), one to Jim Carlen (1971), two to Rex Dockery (1979-80), five to Jerry Moore (1981-85), three to Spike Dykes (1988, 1990, 1992), one to Tommy Tuberville (2011), and four to Kliff Kingsbury (2014, 2016-18).

But what’s interesting is that in only 10 instances have the Red Raiders followed up a losing season with a winning one.  That’s what Wells will be attempting to do this fall.

In his six hears as a head coach, he’s had three losing seasons (2015-17).  After taking over at his alma mater Utah State in 2013, he put together a 9-5 season but some attributed that as much to his predecessor Gary Anderson who when 11-2 in 2012 as Wells (though Wells had a huge part in the 2012 season as well as offensive coordinator).

In 2014, Utah State went 10-4 including a win in the New Mexico Bowl.  But the next season is where Wells’ losing streak began.  Of course, it must be noted that in the first and the third years of that streak, the Aggies put together 6-6 regular seasons but lost their bowl game to finish below .500.

Last year, Utah State rebounded with an 11-2 mark and another win in the New Mexico Bowl.  Though the 52-13 dismantling of North Texas doesn’t officially go on Wells’ resume because he had already taken the job at Tech, the team he built put together one of the more impressive showings of any team in the 2018 college football postseason, a credit to the culture he instilled in Logan.

Now, Red Raider fans want to see that type of team on the South Plains once again.  But the schedule is not stacked in Tech’s favor this fall.

With the Baylor game returning to Waco after a decade of being played in the DFW area, the Red Raiders have five conference road games and only four at home.  What’s more, Tech has to go on the road to take on preseason top-10 teams Oklahoma and Texas as well as making the longest in-conference trip of any team in a Power 5 league when they travel to West Virginia.  Even Tech’s Big 12 mandated out of conference Power 5 game comes on the road when Wells leads his team to Arizona in the season’s first game away from Jones Stadium.

In other words, putting together a true rebound season will not be easy for the Red Raiders in 2019.  But with QB Alan Bowman back to full health, it’s not crazy to envision a successful campaign in year-one of the Matt Wells era.  And if he has a tremendous turnaround in his first season in Lubbock, we may look back at this year the same way do these other excellent rebound seasons.