Three toss-up home games Texas Tech football needs to win to have a big 2024

These Texas Tech football home games could go either way and could determine if 2024 is a breakout year for the program.
Construction continues in Jones AT&T Stadium, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024.
Construction continues in Jones AT&T Stadium, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. / Annie Rice/Avalanche-Journal / USA TODAY
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During the Mike Leach era, Jones AT&T Stadium was a place no team in America wanted to play. However, in the years after Leach's firing, much of that Jones Stadium magic was lost, and winning in Lubbock became nothing extraordinary for the Texas Tech football team's opponents.

Over the past two years, current head coach Joey McGuire has begun to rebuild The Jones into a fortress that is difficult to attack. In fact, winning at home has been one of the keys to his early success with the Red Raiders.

In 2022, McGuire's program was 6-1 in home games, and last year, it was 4-2. To put that in perspective, McGuire's 10 home wins in two years are already one more than Matt Wells had in his 2.5 years as head coach in Lubbock. What's more, that number is equal to the number of home wins Kliff Kingsbury amassed in his first three years in charge of the program (2013-15).

The 2024 season sets up well for the Red Raiders if they are going to continue to play well at home under McGuire's watch. With seven games at Jones Stadium this fall, including five of the first seven games, Tech could have a decent season by simply winning all of its games on its home turf.

Of course, the Red Raiders have higher aspirations than just winning seven games, though. Still, defending The Jones will be essential if this fall is going to be the year that Tech returns to being a Big 12 title contender after a decade and a half of being a conference afterthought. So let's look at three 2024 home games that look like toss-ups on paper but which are games the Red Raiders need to win to be relevant in the league race throughout the season.

Texas Tech vs. Baylor: October 19

At first glance, most Texas Tech fans would probably expect to throttle Baylor in Lubbock this fall. After all, the last time these schools met, the Red Raiders won 39-14 in Waco. What's more, the Bears will be coming off of a disastrous 3-9 campaign last fall.

Don't sleep on the Bears though. Head coach Dave Aranda is coaching for his job and he's made sweeping changes this year including hiring new offensive coordinator Jake Spavital and taking over the defensive play-calling duties himself.

What's more, the Bears have brought in dynamic dual-threat QB transfer Dequan Finn from Toledo to breathe some life into their offense. Also, they still feature dangerous wide receiver Monaray Baldwin who had 126 yards and a touchdown on just five catches against the Red Raiders last season.

Two years ago, Aranda's squad marched into Lubbock and thumped a Behren Morton-led Texas Tech team 45-17 on the night when Patrick Mahomes II was inducted into the Texas Tech Football Ring of Honor. That was a mediocre Baylor team at best in 2022 and that game should remind fans that no Red Raider Big 12 home game should be taken for granted. That's why Baylor's return to the 806 this fall will be an important game and one every Red Raider should be geared up for.