Texas Tech football: Ranking 2020 games by importance for Matt Wells (No. 1-6)

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Fans walk towards Jones AT&T Stadium (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

We continue our look at the importance of each game on the 2020 schedule as it pertains to Texas Tech football head coach Matt Wells’ perception among fans.

Yesterday, we began our analysis of how important each game of the 2020 season is to Texas Tech football head coach Matt Wells as he tries to win over Red Raider fans in his second year.  Today, we continue that exercise by ranking the six most important individual contests on the schedule.

Keep in mind that we are putting the games in order based on how much they will impact the way Wells is perceived by his fan base, which is something that needs to improve in 2020.  So the point is not to rank the games based on which ones we would most like to see Tech win but rather on how much they will change the way Texas Tech football fans think about the coach that many were not on board with from the moment he was hired.  So with that said, let’s get back into the countdown.

No. 6: Oklahoma State

Maintaining an advantage over a former Big 12 South rival is always critical for Texas Tech.  Thus, the trip to Stillwater on Halloween will be a game that will loom large in 2020.

However, it won’t mean as much as the last trip the program made to take on Oklahoma State on their home field.  Back in 2018, the Red Raiders rode a 9-game losing streak to OSU into the first Big 12 game of the season and they came away with an impressive 41-17 win, one of the most dominant Big 12 victories of the Kliff Kingsbury era.

This year’s contest will not be as important for the morale of the fan base given that Tech has won the last two meetings with the Pokes.  And given that last season’s 45-35 win over OSU in Lubbock was Wells’ first conference home game, it’s easy to say that game was also more important than the upcoming 2020 edition of the rivalry.

On the other hand, we shouldn’t let the modest two-game winning streak make us think that Tech has put the Oklahoma State program in the rearview mirror.  When this contest rolls around, the Cowboys are likely to be favored again and currently, ESPN.com’s matchup predictor says that there is a 77.5% chance for a Cowboy win.

There are a handful of teams in the conference that seem to all be vying for the same caliber of recruit and Tech and OSU are in that club.  Time and again, Wells and OSU head coach Mike Gundy go head to head on the recruiting trail as is currently the case with star LB Colin Oliver from Edmond, Oklahoma.

Beating the Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium is never easy, especially for a Red Raider program that has managed to accomplish that feat just once in the last eight times these programs have met north of the Red River.  But while this game isn’t as important as others on the schedule now that the OSU curse has been broken, it would be huge for Wells to keep his program’s good fortune going as he tries to put Tech back in the same conversation as OSU in the Big 12 landscape.

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