If the following comes to fruition, the Texas Tech football team should be able to pick up a much-needed win over rival Baylor this afternoon.
Today, one of the Texas Tech football program’s oldest rivals will finally return to Lubbock. The Red Raiders and Baylor have met 78 times since 1929 with 38 of those matchups being played on the South Plains. However, the last time this series was played at Jones Stadium, these two programs were in vastly different universes compared to where they are in 2020.
The year was 2008 and the Red Raiders were at the tail end of one of the best seasons in program history. Meanwhile, the Bears were slogging through what would become their 13th out of 14-straight losing seasons.
But that game was much closer than the talent on the respective rosts suggested it should have been. That’s partly because the 35-28 Red Raider win came just a week after Tech had been dismantled by Oklahoma 65-21 in a top-5 showdown that decided the Big 12 south race and knocked the Red Raiders out of the national title conversation leaving Mike Leach’s team without much motivation.
It was a sluggish performance by Graham Harrell and the Red Raiders who fell into a 28-14 hole early in the third quarter. But Tech would score the final 21 points of the game with the game-winning score, a 4-yard TD pass from Harrell to Detron Lewis, coming with just over six minutes left in the game.
While the win ultimately sent the Red Raiders to the Cotton Bowl, the biggest development from this game came in the second quarter when All-American wide receiver Michael Crabtree left with what we would eventually find out was a broken foot. That foot injury limited his availability in the Cotton Bowl and proved to be a huge factor in Crabtree’s career as it prevented him from participating in workouts for NFL teams in the pre-draft process, a huge reason he slipped to No. 10 in the 2009 draft.
What’s sobering to think about is how divergent the two programs’ paths have been since that game. While Tech has produced just five winning seasons since then, Baylor has amassed nine, among which you will find two Big 12 championships.
But now, the two programs seem to have found themselves in a similar place in 2020, struggling to stay above each other in the basement of the conference hierarchy. While Tech is just 2-5 on the year, the Bears have gone 1-4 making this a pillow fight of epic proportions.
The difference between the two programs though is that while Baylor head coach Dave Aranda gets a pass for this year after having to navigate his first year as a college head coach in the midst of a pandemic, Matt Wells is already coaching for his job in only his second year in Lubbock. Thus, while Aranda would like a win, Wells desperately needs one.
So let’s go inside what likely needs to happen for the Red Raiders to give their head coach at least two weeks’ worth of a reprieve (Tech is off next weekend). In other words, the Red Raiders will beat Baylor if…