Texas Tech football: What went wrong for the Red Raiders in 2023

Texas Tech v Texas
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Texas Tech couldn't win as many close games

Another reason Texas Tech didn't live up to the hype in 2023 was the fact that not as many close games went the way of the good guys. Whether or not that was due to poor luck, a lack of execution, or just a regression to the mean is up for debate.

This fall, McGuire's team was just 2-3 in games decided by one score. Contrast that to 2022 when Tech went 4-0 in such contests and you can see why Tech took a bit of a step back this fall.

Close losses were the reason for Tech's season-altering 1-3 start. In week one, a double-OT loss to Wyoming put a damper on the entire season. The next game saw Oregon escape Lubbock with a 38-30 win that was only sealed in the last minute. Then, in week four, West Virginia denied Tech from tying the game at the end of the 4th quarter from inside the WVU ten.

The Red Raiders would do better later in the season by knocking off Kansas 16-13 and UCF 24-23 a week later. Those two games were critical in the Red Raiders surge to bowl eligibility, one that required Tech to win three of its final four games.

Some would suggest that winning close games often comes down to luck. For instance, Tech had to block a UCF extra point to get its sixth win this season. Last year, a Texas fumble in OT and a missed Oklahoma field goal in OT led to two critical victories.

However, getting out of close games alive is something that good teams manage to do more often than not but mediocre teams like the Red Raiders were this season typically find those contests to be 50/50 propositions. In 2022, Tech's good fortune led to four one-score wins with no losses. We should have seen that as a red flag for the 2023 season because it was bound to be an area that reverted back to the norm as it did.