Texas Tech must continue to win at home consistently
There was once a time when Jones Stadium was one of the most feared venues in the nation. That was during the 2000s when it seemed as if there was a magical spell presiding over the stadium as time and again, weird things would fall the way of the home team leading to some memorable nights on top of the Caprock.
That mystique was completely destroyed by the time McGuire arrived, though. In fact, it had become rather rare for the Red Raiders to win important games on their home turf prior to 2022.
Fortunately, last season saw the program take a huge step forward in regaining its footing at Jones Stadium. Going 6-1 in Lubbock, the Red Raiders managed to give the good people of the South Plains and those faithful pilgrims who travel hundreds of miles to see a game something to enjoy again.
Of course, managing to knock off Texas and OU at home in the same season was a great way to reinvigorate the home fans. Now, that momentum has a chance to continue in 2023.
Tech will have six home tilts this year including the massive non-conference showdown with Oregon, a team that might come into that week-two game with a top-ten ranking. What’s more, the two teams that played for the Big 12 title in 2022, TCU and Kansas State, will also come calling this year. Thus, there will be chances for more home wins that carry weight in the minds of fans.
The Red Raiders haven’t been able to create much sustained forward progress on this front in the past decade though. In 2021, Tech won only three home games with two of those coming against Stephen F. Austin and Florida International. The season prior, the only three home wins the program managed came against teams with losing records including a two-point win over FCS opponent Houston Baptist.
In fact, prior to 2022, the last time the Red Raiders managed to pick up more than three home wins in a season was 2015. That was the sophomore campaign of Patrick Mahomes II when Tech went 7-5 in the regular season.
This year, Tech will have pivotal games in Lubbock again and it will be imperative that the strides McGuire and Co. took last year in restoring the Jones Stadium mystique carry through 2023 and beyond.