Texas Tech football: Home schedule ends with coveted night game vs. Kansas State

LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 22: General view of fireworks during the National Anthem before the game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Oklahoma Sooners on October 22, 2016 at AT
LUBBOCK, TX - OCTOBER 22: General view of fireworks during the National Anthem before the game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Oklahoma Sooners on October 22, 2016 at AT /

Sunday, it was announced that the Texas Tech football team’s final home game, this Saturday against Kansas State, will kick off at 6 pm.

In today’s Big 12, nothing has become move coveted than the home night game.  With the league’s television partners seemingly more inclined to prioritize the 11 am and 3 pm kickoff windows, night games are becoming increasingly rare.  But Texas Tech fans will get at least one home Big 12 kickoff under the lights as it has been announced that the home finale against Kansas State will kick at 6 pm.

How much juice there will be in the stadium is debatable after the paltry showing from the fan base in Saturday’s game against TCU.  Of course, that game was an 11 am kickoff but being as it was against an in-state rival and a virtual must-win for the team’s bowl hopes, the tens of thousands of empty seats were a huge disappointment.

Though it’s reasonable to expect more fans against the Wildcats, the fact that Tech sits at just 4-6 and will be eliminated from postseason contention with one more loss will likely prevent this from being the classic Jones Stadium night environment that we’ve all come to love.

This will mark just the fourth night game of the year for Tech.  The only other at Jones Stadium was the 7 pm kickoff against UTEP in the season’s second game, a 38-3 Tech victory.

In week three, the Red Raiders lost at Arizona 28-14 in a game that kicked off at 9 pm CST meaning that many fans likely missed the end of the game because their eyelids got in the way.  And last month, Tech dropped a night game at Kansas 37-34 but that’s nothing to be ashamed of because no one goes into Lawrence at night and comes out alive…except for grandmothers and the Cavazos Jr. High developmental team.

In recent years, the night game in Lubbock has become as uncommon as the windless day in March.  That’s why fans were thrilled last season when the Oklahoma and Texas games proved to both be nighttime affairs. Unfortunately, the Red Raiders fell short in each of those games sending the Lubbock fans home (or to the bar) unhappy in back-to-back weeks.

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2017 also saw only two home games under the watchful gaze of the moon.  In week two, Tech beat Arizona State 52-45 in a 7 pm affair that was delayed for an hour by a thunderstorm.  But in the next home game, a 7 pm kick against Oklahoma State, the Red Raiders fell 34-31.

The prevalence of 11 am kickoffs has been a huge reason for this program’s recent attendance drop.  Because the Big 12 allows its television partners to dictate kickoff times, there’s nothing that the university can do but play the game at the time that it is set.  Though that angers fans, it isn’t going to change so long as Big 12 teams receive tens of millions of dollars from the conference media partners.

Fans long for years like 2016 when Tech actually had four night games at home.  Of course, one of those was a Thursday night contest against Kansas, which made it impossible for many out of town fans to attend.  Next year, the Red Raiders will host another Thursday night game, this time against Baylor.

Part of what made 2016 great was that the two September non-conference games were played after the scorching West Texas sun had set.  It can be brutal to sit on aluminum bleachers for several hours on an early September day which is why so many Red Raider fans, especially those on the east side of the stadium, are unable to make it through the second half of the game, especially in the first month of the season.

For the August 31st season opener that kicked at 3 pm, the high temperature in Lubbock was 95 degrees.  It was one of the hotter days in memory for a Texas Tech football game and reminded many of perhaps the most awful heat-related game in program history.

On a 97-degree day with 50% humidity, the Tommy Tuberville era kicked off on Sunday, September 5th, 2010 against SMU in one of the most miserable games anyone has ever experienced.  During Tech’s 35-27 win, the Jones Stadium concession stands ran out of bottled water and there were numerous heat-related incidences throughout the afternoon.

Though the game was in doubt until the fourth quarter, thousands of fans chose to watch the second half on the concourse televisions to get a break from the sun. Of course, no kickoff in November would be that hot but a night game is always preferred.

Next. The all time West Texas Red Raider football roster. dark

Texas Tech fans have been complaining about 11 am kickoffs all year.  Now, we are going to get a night game to wrap up the 2019 home schedule and being as there won’t be another game at The Jones for nine months, we had better enjoy it, regardless of how disappointing this season has been.