Photo CC: Texas Tech Athletics
I would be remiss not to say I hope you and your family had a happy and safe holiday season. In 2020, everyone has been impacted due to COVID-19 in one form or another, but there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. That’s what this article is all about, hopeful and wishful thinking, some of these “wishes” will be much more realistic than some, but you have to try and speak (I guess in this case write) them into existence. So I figured “Hey, I’ll give it a shot.”
Here are the Top 5 wishes I hope to see from various sports in Tech Athletics in 2021… Here’s to wishful thinking!
#1: Baseball Wins the College World Series
I can hear it now, “The Red Raiders are National Champions for the first time in program history!”, of course with Geoff Haxton on the call. This one doesn’t seem as far fetched as other wishes on the list. Texas Tech is welcoming in one of the best-recruiting classes in program history and welcoming back a majority of the roster that was 16-3 before the shutdown with their only losses coming to Tennessee and #10 Mississippi State.
Coach Tadlock and Crew never seem to rebuild, they just always reload and this year might be the best example of that yet. The Red Raiders are ranked in the Top 5 of at least one preseason poll and projected to host a regional in the NCAA Tournament and favorites to make it to Omaha. We all know baseball is a cruel game sometimes, especially in the postseason, looking at you 2017 and Sam Houston St.
This Red Raider roster is loaded with talented arms and bats and should be favorites to win the Big 12. They haven’t gotten over the hump quite yet in Omaha, never reaching the final series, but if there were a year to do it, why not 2021 with Coach Tadlocks’ most talented roster yet.
#2: Men’s Basketball Makes the Final Four… Again
Who could forget the 2019 NCAA Tournament run by Tech? In case you have, here’s a fun 10 minute video of the best highlights from that historic run.
The Red Raider Men’s Basketball team isn’t surprising anyone anymore. This is a nationally known program built on defense and hard work. Is it fair to compare this year’s team to 2019, probably not, but it is safe to say that the 2021 team, is more talented, well at least on paper.
Tech welcomed in the best recruiting class in program history in 2020-2021 and early on, it’s paying off. The only two losses Tech has on the season are to Top 5 teams in the country, #3 Kansas and #5 Houston. The Kansas loss was by one point and Kyler Edwards didn’t score a single point, plus you were without Kevin McCullar in both games.
The Final Four shouldn’t be the ultimate goal, like Coach Beard says, “I want to play on the final Monday of the year and win”. That’s the reality of this program now, they are competing at the highest level and expectations come with that from the coaches, players and the entire fanbase.
If Tech does make the Final Four in 2021, they’d technically make back-to-back appearances because of no Final Four in 2020 due to Covid. If this happened, Coach Beard would have statues at every corner in Lubbock, Texas.
#3: Football Makes and Wins a Bowl Game
Hey, baby steps right? Tech just hired a new OC in Sonny Cumbie who most, not all, think was a good hire. The football team has shown flashes of getting over the close game hump, but haven’t quite cleared that hurdle… Why not in 2021? They welcome back a majority of their defense that kept Tech in all but 2-3 games this year, plus they welcome back talent at the RB, WR, and TE positions. The OL and QB positions are somewhat of a concern, but if you were in the camp that liked the Cumbie hire, there is hope at those positions.
Cumbie is one of the most well-respected coaches in the country when it comes to developing QB’s and what better situation to have than that of the best QB recruit in program history stepping foot on campus in January? Morton and Cumbie already have a relationship with Cumbie recruiting him to come to TCU when Cumbie was the OC for the Horned Frogs or that of seeing each other at various QB camps. This relationship will be critical to Techs’ success next season as Morton looks to become QB1 as a True Freshman.
Overall, this team isn’t far off, yes, I can already hear the “Tech will never get over that hump with Wells as Head Coach” crowd. That may be true, but Tech has a talented roster going into a year where it looks to be another down year for the Big 12. Could Tech stumble again and go 4-8 or 5-7? Sure, but look at the title of the article, this is a wishlist.
#4: Women’s Basketball Makes a Postseason Tournament
This one may not seem like that big of a wish, but for those Tech fans that remember the “Golden era” of Lady Raider basketball, this would be a big step in the right direction. Coach Gerlich and Crew have already made a sizable impact on the program getting the Big 12’s second-leading scorer in 19-20 to transfer to Lubbock in Vivian Gray.
The team has come out of the gates and played well with their only two losses coming to Rice (not an ideal loss) and #7 Baylor in Waco. This team is talented and has multiple girls that can step up on a nightly basis and help lead the squad to a win. The two true “impact” players on the team are Lexi Gordon (UCONN transfer) and Vivian Gray (Oklahoma State transfer).
Wouldn’t it be nice to see the scarlet and black in the NCAA Tournament or NIT on the ladies’ side? This program is definitely headed in the right direction, but them making a postseason tournament would just accelerate that process.
#5: Overall, Athletics Wins Two Team National Championships
If it’s a wishlist, why not wish for something that’s never happened before? Tech currently only has two national championships in the athletic program with one coming in 1993 with Sheryl Swoopes and now Tech Women’s Basketball Head Coach, Krista Gerlich. While the other happened in 2019 with Coach Kittley and the Tech Men’s Track & Field team.
This one requires the most wishful thinking, but this is the golden age of Tech Athletics. Every sport outside of Football and Women’s Basketball competed in their respective postseasons in 2019. With Tech Men’s Basketball and Tech Baseball making the Final Four in their respective sports. When you look across campus from Track & Field and the potential Olympians on that roster to Men’s basketball and their best roster in program history, why not think this is possible?
BONUS: Fans back in the stands and sold-out crowds!
This one is one I think everyone can agree with, we want to pack the Tech Athletic facilities and support the athletes! Obviously, we need to do this in a way where everyone involved is safe. This day is coming soon Tech fans and when it does come… it’ll be glorious!
What is on your Texas Tech Athletics wishlist for 2021? Tell us yours in the comments below or on our Facebook or Twitter accounts @GunsUpNation!