Three Big 12 teams we wish Texas Tech was playing in 2024

It's a shame that the Texas Tech football team isn't playing these Big 12 teams in 2024 because the Red Raiders would have a great shot at beating them.
Houston v Texas Tech
Houston v Texas Tech / Josh Hedges/GettyImages

The new era of Big 12 scheduling arrived in 2023 and has only grown more complicated now that the league has expanded to 16 teams. That's something that fans are still trying to grow accustomed to.

For over a decade, the Big 12 was the only major conference in the country that featured a true round-robin scheduling format. That guaranteed that each team would see every conference foe year after year.

Now, though, the reality is that each season is going to feature unbalanced schedules for each program. For instance, some teams will benefit from having five conference home games while others will have only four (something that was in place during the round-robin schedule era).

What's going to really help determine the outcome of the Big 12 regular season race, though, is the opponents each team plays and the opponents each team misses every season. That's where the Red Raiders might have caught a break in 2024.

This fall, the Red Raiders won't play three of the top five teams in the Big 12 preseason poll. What's more, this is the year that Tech will have the extra home conference game.

Still, there are teams not on the Red Raiders' schedule that we wish Joey McGuire's squad would get a crack at in 2024. Let's look at who we wish the Red Raiders got to play this fall.

The Houston Cougars

In each of the last three seasons, Texas Tech has faced the Houston Cougars. In 2021, the teams met to open the season at NRG Stadium in Houston and in 2022 and 2023 they played in Lubbock. All three games went the way of the Red Raiders.

In fact, Tech has won six games in a row in that series. Unfortunately, that streak won't grow to seven this fall.

It's too bad that Tech can't play Houston this year. Not only would that give the program another in-state opponent, something that college football fans in Texas crave, but it would also likely be as close to a guaranteed win as the Big 12 can provide a team.

Houston is in the midst of a coaching change from Dana Holgorsen to Willie Fritz. Transition seasons are never easy but they are especially difficult for programs coming off of a 4-8 season.

Houston was picked 15th in the Big 12 preseason poll. That's a fair assessment of where that program is after the failed Holgorsen era left a mess for Fritz to sort out.

So while Tech likely would have had to play the Cougars in Houston this year, that wouldn't have been too daunting of a task given that Houston still doesn't have a Big 12 roster from top to bottom and given that the Cougars also will be in the first year of a new coaching staff. So this is not a great year to miss playing Houston.

The Kansas Jayhawks

Sure, Kansas was picked fourth in the Big 12 preseason poll. And yes, KU features a dynamic starting QB and RB combination in Jalon Daniels and Devin Neal.

Still, if you are going to have to play one of the top-tier teams in the conference, Kansas would be the one you'd want to play, especially if you are Texas Tech.

The Jayhawks simply can't solve the Red Raider riddle. They have lost 23 of 25 all-time meetings in the series including the last four games.

What's more, Kansas would have had to come to Lubbock this time around after the Red Raiders' 16-13 last-second win in Lawrence in 2023. KU hasn't won in Lubbock since 2001, a span of eight games so there would be confidence in Tech's ability to take them down in 2024.

What's more, there's reason to believe that KU is one of the more overrated teams in the conference. That's because Daniels can't seem to stay healthy and because they have given control of their offense to new OC Jeff Grimes who in 2023 coordinated one of the worst offenses in the Big 12 at Baylor.

There's no way to miss all of the top contenders in the conference in any given year. This season, Tech plays Arizona and Oklahoma State on the road but doesn't see Utah, Kansas State, or Kansas. It would be much more advantageous for Tech to play the Jayhawks rather than the Wildcats or Cowboys because this program seems to just have KU's number.

The BYU Cougars

Finally, wouldn't every Texas Tech fan want another shot at the BYU Cougars? After all, 2023's game between the two programs wasn't a fair fight.

Remember that in the 27-14 BYU win in Provo, Utah last season, Tech had to start true freshman Jake Strong at quarterback due to Behren Morton's shoulder injury. That proved to be a disastrous turn of events.

Playing a night game in a tough road environment, Strong looked like you might expect a true freshman to look in his first career start. He was just 19-37 passing for 236 yards and a TD. Also, he threw three interceptions and lost a fumble on a botched handoff exchange with running back Tahj Brooks.

What drove Texas Tech fans mad about that game is that BYU was a bad team in 2023. In fact, they wouldn't win another game after defeating Tech as they dropped their final five games to finish 5-7 overall and 2-7 in the Big 12.

This year, BYU isn't expected to be much better. Picked 13th in the conference's preseason poll, they likely won't have a rebound season given their questions at QB and the fact that the defense is riddled with issues of its own.

But the reason Tech would love to play BYU this season goes deeper than that. That's because last year's game got rather heated as BYU turned up the trash-talking and antics as their lead grew. Tech would love a chance to avenge that awful loss and show the Cougars what the Red Raiders look like with Behren Morton at QB. We will have to wait until next season when BYU comes to Lubbock for that to happen though.