Texas Tech football: Sporting News ranks Matt Wells ninth in Big 12

In a recently-released ranking of all 130 FBS head coaches, “The Sporting News” ranked Texas Tech football head coach Matt Wells second-to-last of all coaches in the Big 12.

It’s always interesting to see what the national perspective on your beloved program is.  But in recent years, such perspectives have been rather unkind to the Texas Tech football program.

Another example of that came about earlier this month when Bill Bender of The Sporting News ranked all 130 FBS head coaches and put Matt Wells ninth out of ten in the Big 12.  Overall, the second-year man in charge of the current Red Raider rebuild checks in at No. 63 nationally.

But interestingly, last year, Wells was even lower at No. 76 overall.  Thus, he jumped 14 spots despite going just 4-8 in his debut season on the South Plains.

Still, to say that the shine is starting to wear off of Wells’ diamond might be fair.  In his last five years, he’s managed just one winning season, a 10-2 regular-season mark in 2018, which he parlayed into his current job.

But in the other four years since he began his career with back-to-back winning seasons at his alma mater, Utah State, he’s managed to go just 19-31.  That’s a winning percentage of just 0.380, which is significantly lower than the 0.466 that his predecessor managed in six years in Lubbock.

Thus, it is fair to suggest that 2020 could be the most important season of Wells’ career as a head coach.  If he is able to get his program back on solid footing by reaching a bowl game, no matter how mediocre that game may be in the grand scheme of college football, he will solidify his status as the man in charge in Lubbock and it could set him up for a lengthy tenure in the Hub City.  After all, he is AD Kirby Hocutt’s hand-picked head coach and even the slightest bit of success will endear him to his boss who is desperate to finally have one of his football head coaching hires pan out.

But think about where Wells will be a year from now if Tech misses out on a bowl once again.  In that undesirable scenario, he will enter 2021 on all of the national hot seat lists, and even if he still has the backing of his AD, he will not have the support of a Red Raider fan base that is already cynical and apathetic about him to begin with.  In other words, this could be the season that he either wins over or completely loses his constituency.

There is a flaw with this article though, and it may be a simple typo.  But in fact, Wells may actually be the lowest-ranked coach in the Big 12.  On the page that lists all 130 coaches, he sits three places behind first-year Baylor head coach Dave Aranda.  However, on the page that lists all Big 12 coaches, they have Aranda at No. 10 and Wells at No. 9 despite listing Aranda at No. 60 and Wells at 63 overall.  They even write a blurb about Aranda being the lowest-ranked coach in the conference.

But ninth or tenth isn’t a huge difference.  What matters is that people around the nation have doubts about Wells, as do many who bleed scarlet and black.  That’s why 2020 is so critical for Wells despite being just his second year in charge.  Once one of the fastest rising young coaches in the nation, he’s now seeing his star begin to dim, something that has also been the case for Texas Tech football program as a whole over the last decade.  Now, it is time to fix that problem.