The Texas Tech Red Raiders stay in-state for Rivalry Week, and head to Austin for a meeting with the Texas Longhorns. This isn’t quite like Oklahoma-Texas, but it’s still for the Saddle Trophy, which accounts for something. Texas should be playing against Texas A&M this week, but that rivalry was scrapped after the Aggies went to the SEC. They should find a way to fit that game into the schedule again.
I understand college sports is a business, but at the expense of ruining a rivalry that goes back more than a century, that’s unacceptable. The last Texas-Texas A&M played was in 2011, a 27-25 win for Texas. If I’m going to guess, that certainly won’t be the last ever, though. Nobody would oppose if they matched up in a bowl this year. However, don’t be surprised if the rivalry eventually gets reinstated in the future.
For now, we’ll have to settle for Texas and Texas Tech. The Longhorns and Red Raiders seem like they’re going in opposite directions. Kliff Kingsbury is on life support as the head coach at Texas Tech, a loss against Texas would just about solidify the axe. There are going to be a lot of job openings this offseason, and one of them may come at Texas Tech. It’s going to be a competitive interviewing season in college football, and the Red Raiders better hope they have the right guy lined up before firing Kingsbury. I doubt they would get away from their up-tempo spread offense. It’s been instituted at Texas Tech since Mike Leach became a pioneer of attacking defenses with the air-raid.
The air-raid hasn’t exactly gone so well for Texas Tech this season, though. Their quarterback, Nic Shimonek, has been hit and miss for the Red Raiders. Shimonek replaced Pat Mahomes this year, after Mahomes went to the NFL. Mahomes put up video game numbers in the offense. However, it didn’t matter because their defense was horrifically bad. The Texas Tech defense has improved in 2017, but their offense has taken a step back. It’s unfortunate for Kingsbury, because their season would have looked a whole lot better with Mahomes on campus this year. We’ll see if Shimonek is ready for the retooled Texas defense in the final week of the regular season. Head below for our free Texas Tech vs. Texas pick.
Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Texas Longhorns Betting Odds:
Texas Tech +10(-110)
vs. Texas -10(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Texas Tech vs. Texas Pick:
Texas have come a long way since getting trounced by the Maryland Terrapins in Week 1. Notably, the Texas defense has come a long way. Maryland ran all over Texas, earning a 51-41 win back in the first game of the year. It was the debut for new Texas head coach, Tom Herman. Herman built Houston into a contender, and he didn’t do much to instill much confidence in anyone against the Terrapins. Since then, they’ve been a competitive football team but there is certainly a lot of room for improvement. They lost the games they were supposed to, including USC, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and TCU. It’s going to take another year or two before they actually win those matchups.
Credit should be given for their effort against USC, though, as they pushed the Trojans to overtime and a 27-24 final. They also held in tough against Oklahoma and didn’t make it easy on Baker Mayfield. Shutting down Ronald Jones and Sam Darnold is no easy task, but Tom Herman was up to the challenge and made it look easy. The Longhorns are coming off a nice road win over West Virginia, 28-14. The most noticeable improvement at Texas has been their defense. He was known for a hardnosed defense at Houston, and doing quick work at Texas. They’ve allowed 19 points per game since the Red River Rivalry on October 14th. 29 points is the most they gave up, and that was to Oklahoma.
Texas Tech have gone 2-6 in their last eight games. Want to know where those two wins came from? Against Kansas and Baylor, the worst of the Big 12. They’ve lost by a margin of 12 points in their six losses. Shimonek has looked good against the bad defenses, and against good defenses it isn’t working so well. Reason being against the bad defenses, his wide receivers are just winning the one-on-one battles.
All he needs to do is make a short completion and watch them run for big gainers. Wide receiver screens and quick slants can easily get sniffed out by better competition. Texas owns the 8th best run defense in college football, so that isn’t going to be aspect of their offense that’s going to be too effective in this matchup. The Red Raiders have been awful at finishing drives in the red zone, and it will continue to be a problem in Austin. When the field starts to shrink, spread offenses usually find it difficult to punch the ball in. The Longhorns should get the job done by a couple of touchdowns here.
PICK: TEXAS -10 (-110)