A Brutal Stretch
For years, Tech has struggled to close out seasons. In fact, Tech hasn’t had a winning record in its final six games of a season since 2010.
It will be tough for Tech to manage that feat in 2021 given that the season’s most brutal stretch comes after the Red Raiders make the turn. In games 9-11, Tech will have to play at OU before hosting Iowa State and Oklahoma State.
Those three teams will enter the year as the three most likely to play in the Big 12 title game. What’s more, Tech has only two wins over those three programs since 2016 with both coming over Oklahoma State.
We have to know that Tech is almost guaranteed to lose to Oklahoma in 2021. The same can be said for Iowa State, which has owned the Red Raiders for the last five seasons and which returns virtually every key player from last season’s Big 12 runner up squad.
Thus, Tech’s only hope of salvaging one of these games seems to be the OSU game on November 20. That’s going to be a tough ask given that the Cowboys will bring QB Spencer Sanders and most of last year’s defense back for 2021. However, the Pokes have lost RB Chuba Hubbard and WR Tylan Wallace to the NFL Draft. Still, they look to be a top-3 team in the conference at this point and that will be a tough win to pick up, even in Lubbock.
Could this stretch be the one that puts the final nail in Matt Wells’ coffin? If Tech can’t beat TCU in Lubbock or stubs its toe again in Lawrence, Kansas on October 16, I think it might.
Let’s say Tech drops its two road games to open Big 12 play as expected. Then, let’s say the Red Raiders split the TCU and Kansas games. That means that Tech will enter the KSU game in Lubbock on October 9 at just 1-3.
Given that Tech has not beaten KSU since 2015, no one would be surprised to see the 2021 team head into the ensuing three-game gauntlet 1-4 in league play. Thus, could Tech expect to emerge from the OU-ISU-OSU stretch any better than 2-6 in conference play? Logic suggests no. And if that is the case, one has to wonder if the search for a new head coach will already have begun.