On beloved and one despised former Red Raider on College Football H.O.F. ballot

Former Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell and former Texas Tech head coach Tommy Tuberville are on the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.
AT&T Cotton Bowl - Texas Tech v Mississippi
AT&T Cotton Bowl - Texas Tech v Mississippi / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

One of the most beloved players and one of the most reviled head coaches in Texas Tech football history are on the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot. Graham Harrell, the gunslinging passer who owns numerous school records, and Tommy Tuberville, the former head coach who slinked off to Cincinnati to avoid being held accountable for his mediocrity are among a group hoping to be enshrined this year.

Harrel was a 2008 First Team All-American and AT&T All-America Player of the Year who finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. He was also a 2008 NFF National Scholar-Athlete.

The Ennis, Texas native holds seven NCAA records, including career 400-yard games (20). He also was a three-time All-Big 12 performer and ranks second in league history with 15,793 career passing yards.

Of course, Harrell is widely considered the most accomplished QB in program history. During his three years as a starter, he guided Tech to an overall record of 28-11.

He is most remembered for his legendary 2008 season that saw he and wide receiver Michael Crabtree guide the program to a No. 2 national ranking after a last-second win over No. 1 Texas. However, that wasn't his best statistical season.

In 2007, as a junior, Harrell passed for 5,705 yards and 48 TDs with only 14 picks. He completed 71.8% of his passes, a Texas Tech record that still stands.

A year later, as a senior, he again topped 5,000 yards through the air while throwing 45 TDs and only nine picks. He also completed 70.1% of his passes that season.

Of course, his sophomore campaign wasn't all that bad either. Throwing for 4,555 yards and 38 TDs with 11 picks, he showed that he had what it took to lead the "Air Raid" offense to new heights.

That year, he also helped author the 31-point second-half comeback win over Minnesota in the Insight Bowl. He also threw a dramatic fourth-quarter touchdown in the final minute to help knock off Texas A&M in College Station that season cementing his status as a Red Raider hero.

Unfortunately, Tuberville wasn't able to endear himself to the Red Raider fan base as well. In fact, he remains one of the most disliked figures in program history.

Arriving after Mike Leach was fired in 2009, he walked into a difficult situation. However, the former Ole Miss and Auburn head coach did little to smooth things over upon his arrival.

His constant complaining about the program and about West Texas rubbed many the wrong way. What's more, he couldn't continue the success that Leach had managed to achieve.

In 2010, he guided Tech to a mediocre 8-5 mark, and then, in 2011, he managed only a 5-7 record. That meant Tech was ineligible for a bowl game for the first time since 1992 ending the longest streak of bowl eligibility in the Big 12.

2012 saw Tuberville lead Tech to a mark of 7-5 in the regular season. However, that season included only one win over a ranked team.

After that season, Tuberville snuck off to Cincinnati where he took the head coaching job because he knew his seat in Lubbock was growing hot. That left many fans with a sour taste in their mouth and established Tuberville's name as one of the dirtiest words in the West Texas lexicon.

Still, Tuberville's career does warrant Hall of Fame consideration. He was the 2004 National Coach of the Year after leading Auburn to an SEC title and a perfect 13-0 season. He led the Tigers to four division crowns and two SEC championship game appearances, and he ranks 10th in conference history with 64 SEC regular season wins. After his time at Texas Tech, he led Cincinnati to a 9-4 (7-1) record and a share of the AAC title in 2014.

Regardless, if there is one person Red Raider fans hope never gets anything positive again, it would be Tuberville. The same can't be said for Harrell who everyone in West Texas is rooting for as he again seeks enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame.