Is Texas Tech head coach Grant McCasland ready for his toughest test yet?
Welcome to the big time, Grant McCasland. The good news is that you now have a head coaching job at the major conference level earning you millions of dollars. The bad news is that you are going to be expected to win and win big in the toughest conference in the nation.
Overall, McCasland is 352-121 (.744) as a head coach. However, he’s never had to run through a gauntlet the likes of which he will face in the Big 12.
This season, four Big 12 teams (Kansas, Houston, Texas, and Baylor) will begin the year in the top 25. What’s more, TCU and K-State received votes in the preseason A.P. poll.
Of course, two of the last three national champions have come from the Big 12 and Tech itself came within an eyelash of making it three of the last four. That’s why this is the most elite conference in the NCAA.
Last season, McCasland led UNT to a 16-4 conference record in the regular season. But in the American Athletic Conference, he was facing the likes of Florida Internationa, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, Rice, UTSA, and UTEP (among others).
This year, he will have to win conference games against the likes of Iowa State, West Virginia, Cincinnati, and Oklahoma State, all teams that were picked in the middle of the pack in the conference preseason poll but all of which would be heavy favorites to win the AAC.
Of course, the team McCasland will be coaching is going to have a roster that is far superior to any that he’s ever had as well. It isn’t as if he is going to be asked to compete in the Big 12 with UNT-level talent.
Still, this will be the biggest challenge (and opportunity) of McCasland’s coaching career. Can he match wits with the likes of Bill Self, Scott Drew, Kelvin Sampson, Jerome Tang, and the other fantastic coaches who lead Big 12 programs? It will be fascinating to find out.