Year number two in the Matt Wells era is set to kick off on September 12th, when Texas Tech will welcome in Houston Baptist. With the season just over two weeks away, members of the Guns Up Nation Crew sent in their expectations for the 2020 season, a bold prediction, and a record prediction for the 2020 Texas Tech football team. Check it out and let us know who you agree with… lets get started
2019 was better than it looked all things considered for the Red Raiders. Having your starting QB, Alan Bowman, miss 9 of the 12 games didn’t help with that. Plus, the dreadful defense on 3rd down really hindered any chance Tech had at a bowl game. 2020, it feels a bit different and there’s a sense of optimism within the program they can make a significant leap. The question mark for Tech has always been defense and there is some reason for hope this year that Tech can be a “respectable” defense. What I mean by that is if all 130 D1 schools were playing this year, Tech would be in the 75-80 range. Is that great, no, but it’s a dramatic improvement compared to years past. On the offensive side, it comes down to health at the QB position no matter who wins the starting job. Bowman is the projected starter, but Maverick McIvor has a chance at it as well. If those guys can stay healthy for Tech, both were injured and took a redshirt in 2019, which would be a huge boost to the Tech offense. There’s optimism this team takes a leap forward and I tend to believe it in a few key places. I know some people are questioning the secondary, but I’m higher on some of the key members in that group than others. Frye moves to his natural outside spot and McPherson moves inside which should help improve the pass defense. With that in mind, I project Tech will take a step forward this year. Also, don’t forget, all of the seniors on the roster are eligible to return for the 2021 season so if Tech does take a leap forward, it’ll only accelerate the timeline Coach Wells and Crew have in place.
Bold Prediction: Erik Ezukanma will lead the Red Raiders in receiving with over 1,200 yards; only 8 players have done that in program history.
- Michael Crabtree: 1,962 yds (2007)
- Keke Coutee: 1,429 yds (2017)
- Antoine Wesley: 1,410 yds (2018)
- Jace Amaro: 1,352 yds (2013)
- Joel Filani: 1,300 yds (2006)
- Jakeem Grant: 1,268 yds (2015)
- Lloyd Hill: 1,261 yds (1992)
- Danny Amendola: 1,245 yds (2007)
Record Prediction: 4-6
Hello, I’m the graphic designer! Like the others have mentioned, in the 2019 season Tech had 4 games where they lost by just 3 points. Now I’m not one to complain about the officiating, but some of those games had questionable calls, but that’s all in the past. With this season being a lot different, we can’t rely on 3 non-conference games to help boost our record to a bowl game. Heck, we might not even have bowl games this season. I do think however if QB Alan Bowman can stay healthy, we might have a chance at a decent record. I’m definitely looking forward to Coach Wells’ 2nd season even though it’s going to be a whacky one.
Bold prediction: Tech will upset one of the following three teams: Texas, Oklahoma, Baylor
Record Prediction: 5-5
With so much uncertainty in the world right now, Red Raider football is a great escape. The 2019 season had its high and lows with several injuries on both sides of the ball. Hopefully, this year will be different. Tech has a lot of talent coming back this season, especially on defense. Techs 2020 schedule is spread out pretty well in my opinion. Every 2-3 games they play a top 4 projected team in the Big-12. Maybe by playing Texas in week two, the Red Raiders could catch them off-guard and upset them at home. With COVID-19 sweeping the nation many teams haven’t had a chance to be together for significant time and that could play into Techs favor in the first few weeks of the season. I expect big things this season from TJ Vasher, Adrian Frye, SaRodorick Thompson, Zech McPherson, Eli Howard, and Riko Jeffers.
Bold Prediction: Texas Tech will have two or three guys make the First Team All-Big-12 team on the defensive side of the ball.
Record Prediction: 5-5
The Red Raiders’ ability to close out games is going to show how much this team has grown in year 2 under Head Coach Matt Wells. Tech lost 7 of its 8 games by 14 points or less. 4 of those losses were by 3 points or less, including an inexplicable ending to the Kansas game. 12 total points the way of the Red Raiders results in a record of 8-4 instead of 4-8. When there are that many games that close, the difference in the game comes down to 5-7 plays over the course of a game. The offense averaged 30.5 points per game last year. When the offense hit that mark, the Red Raiders went 4-2 with the 2 losses being by a combined 5 points. The defense averaged allowing 30.3 points per game, which ranked 84th out of 130 FBS programs. If the offense gets an average of 3 points better and the defense gets 3 points better per game, that alone translates to 2-3 more wins. While 3 points don’t seem like much, it would signify a large advancement by both sides of the ball.
Bold Prediction: When looking at the Big 12 as a whole, and how turbulent the spring and the start of the season has been, it’s hard to see a situation where any Big 12 team goes 10-0. I am very high on this being a breakout year for TJ Vasher. Expect him to be a 1st team All-Big 12 honors this year.
Record Prediction: 5-5
The Red Raiders went a poor 4-8 in 2019 but remember the fact that Alan Bowman and Jack Anderson went down with an injury and only played in three games. Also, the team had to learn a whole new system on offense and defense with Texas Tech swapping out Kliff Kingsbury for Matt Wells. All things considered, losing 4 games by 3 or fewer points last year doesn’t sound too bad looking forward. If the Red Raiders can stay healthy at the key positions they will look like a whole new team in 2020. I usually underrate the Red Raiders as last year I predicted 3-9 but this year I think the Red Raiders are poised for a big comeback year in 2020 going 7-3.
Bold Prediction: SaRodorick Thompson will build upon a strong 2019 season and rush for around 1500 yards in just 10 games leading the Big 12 in rushing and will compete for the Doak Walker Award given annually to the nation’s top running back.
Record Prediction: 7-3
This season will be the most unique in history. The Red Raiders will need to be solid on both sides of the ball this season with there being tons of places to replace talent from last season. This team was really close to being a bowl-eligible team last season and was simply a few missed calls and close plays away from being 6-6 last season. While the quarterback position seems to be solidified, for now, Bowman’s injury history concerns me. What gives me a huge shining glimmer of hope is Coach Matt Wells and his staff. Wells was able to build something at Utah State with a ton of solid experienced players and that is exactly what was built on this year’s defense. This defense might be the best Texas Tech has had in a while with not only the new players, the depth of this defense will be its strength going into this season.
Bold Prediction: At least two Texas Tech defenders will play well enough to get drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Record Prediction: 6-4
Matt Well’s first year at the helm for Texas Tech came with adversity early and often. Suffering the loss of quarterback Alan Bowman, an officiating mishap in OT vs Baylor, and one of the strangest blocked field goal plays ever seen vs Kansas, it’s clear that bowl-eligibility was in reach for last year’s team. Instead, the squad ended up 4-8 overall and 2-7 in Big 12 play, the worst conference performance since 2014. While most of last season’s stars on offense return, the defense saw a few playmakers depart the program. Broderick Washington Jr., Jordyn Brooks, and Douglas Coleman III all leave big shoes to be filled on this year’s team. With only one non-conference game & date with Texas to kick off Big 12 play, the defense will be tested immediately. Last year, the Red Raider defense allowed 539 yards per game to Big 12 opponents while also ranking 91st nationally in 3rd down conversion percentage. In a conference filled with quarterback talent and explosive offenses, all signs point to the defense being the crutch of a successful season again.
Bold Prediction: Eli Howard leads the Big 12 in sacks
Record Prediction: 3-7
The 2019 season and its litany of close losses can be viewed as either evidence that the team was very close to being far better than its record indicates, or as evidence that the team couldn’t close out wins. I’d contend it was a bit of both, with some random misfortune thrown in. Losing Bowman again early was obviously a huge blow, and losing the Baylor game due to a horrific officiating gaffe and the KU game to a sequence that needed the Benny Hill song of Yakety Sax played over it all proved to be fairly unlucky. A little more continuity at QB and a bounce our way here or there in 2020 would produce a better record even if the team doesn’t really improve. The schedule mostly sets up favorably, with the toughest games being at home. Not that home-field advantage will be as much of a factor as usual given limited fan capacity, but my prediction ends up with us losing all four away games in 2020, and only one home game against OU for a .500 record.
Bold prediction: Alan Bowman will play the entire year and be the best QB in the conference. Bowman has seen two seasons cut short by injury and has recently heard plenty of fan frustrations about his future as a starting QB. Alan has largely played very well when he’s been out there, and I’m expecting him to be more than ready to go show what he can do in 2020.
Record Prediction: 5-5
Any Red Raider football is good football. I will take whatever I can get, as I am sure you will too. Whether we get through a few games or an entire season, there are a few things that have to happen for the program to take the next step under Matt Wells. First off, a healthy season by Alan Bowman is a must. Bowman has the talent and the receivers to remind the Big12 that he is one of the top passers in the conference, if not the nation. With Vasher’s off-the-field issues resolved, Bowman’s main target is finally solidified. Vasher in the line up means that the opposition will double-team him, leaving Ezukanma, Rigdon, and Mannix with way more opportunities to spread the field. And don’t forget about the new focus on the TE position, which may surprise BIG. The TE position has been a lost art for Tech that that will be very much welcomed back. Defensively, big seasons from Eli Howard, Nick McCann, Rico Jeffers, and Krishon Merriweather are essential, especially with the secondary in transition. Let’s be honest though, the secondary is a big question mark. Teams will try to take advantage of that early. Secondary coach Derek Jones will be a busy man this season. As for home wins – Houston Baptist, Texas, West Virginia, Baylor, and Kansas are all within sight – but we have to get a few surprise away game wins. With TCU having program concerns, the Red Raiders should be able to sneak out of Fort Worth with a W.
Bold Prediction: Eli Howard is a household name come midseason. But with a secondary that has so many question marks, look for opponents to take advantage early, especially away. Vasher will continue his Jarrett Hicks style and terrorize small secondaries on the goal line and will cement himself as a Texas Tech receiving great.
Record Prediction: 6-4
Let us know who you agree with from our crew and what your predictions are for the 2020 Texas Tech Football season.