Texas Tech football: Joey McGuire is treading water but is that good enough?

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Texas Tech’s head coach Joey McGuire covers his face during the Big 12 football game against Houston, Saturday, Sept, 30, 2023, at Jones AT&T Stadium.

There is no denying that the 2023 Texas Tech football season has been a disaster thus far.  With his team just 3-5 overall after entering the fall with massive expectations, much of the focus has turned to the job performance of head coach, Joey McGuire, and many Red Raider fans are starting to notice that the second-year head coach is not really outperforming most of his recent predecessors.

Texas Tech fans had higher hopes for McGuire

With just four games remaining in his sophomore campaign with the Red Raiders, McGuire’s overall record is a rather pedestrian 11-10.  However, that factors in two wins over FCS opponents.  Thus, against FBS programs, he actually has a losing mark of 9-10.

In Big 12 play, McGuire is only 7-7 overall, again, not an inspiring record.  Also, in true road games, he’s won only two of eight games.

It was a promising start for the first-time college head coach in 2022, though.  After his team got out of the gates slowly by going 4-5 in its first nine games, McGuire rallied the troops and helped the Red Raiders rattle off four wins in a row to end the year at 8-5.

However, this year has seen the Red Raiders match last season’s loss total already and given the way Tech has looked in its last two games, a pair of double-digit losses to Kansas State and BYU, there is little optimism for a late-season winning streak in 2023.

Of course, with the team’s struggles, many fans have been quick to note that McGuire was rewarded with a $26.6 million contract extension after last season.  To say that he hasn’t yet justified that deal is fair.  What’s more, his struggles in year one of a massive extension bring back bad memories for people around Raiderland.

In 2013, Kliff Kingsbury guided Tech to an identical 8-5 record and an impressive bowl win in his first year as a college head coach as well.  That also earned him a lucrative contract extension in his first offseason, a deal that would ultimately haunt the Tech athletic department.

Unfortunately, Kingsbury would go just 4-8 in his second season in charge and he would have only one more winning season (2015) before he was fired following the 2018 season.  What proved to be Kingsbury’s downfall (at least in large part) was a bevy of injuries at the QB position across multiple years.  Does all of that sound familiar?

McGuire could easily end up with a losing record this year and if that happens, what will be the main reason?  Quarterback injuries.

Of course, there is still time for McGuire to pull off a late-season resurgence but the similarities between the start of his career and the start of the Kingsbury era are hard to miss.  Both were extremely popular hires who had massive fan support and who got off to strong starts before signing big extensions after only one season.  Now, some are rightfully fearing that McGuire might be heading down the same path as Kingsbury.

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