Although the 2023 Texas Tech football season is far from the magical one most fans dreamed of, a season-ending victory over California in the Independence Bowl gave Red Raider fans a sense of excitement heading into the offseason. It gave me a good feeling. But what’s really encouraging for those in scarlet and black are some of the results of his other bowl games.
This season in the NCAA has ended on a surprisingly strong note, with several teams coming out of nowhere to win postseason games. Plus, many of those teams were almost all expected to be terrible this year.
Perhaps the most surprising team in the country this year is Missouri. Despite coming into the season under very difficult circumstances, head coach Eli Drinkwitz, who was winless in his first three years in Columbia, led his team to a surprisingly impressive 2023 season.
Missouri State was picked second from bottom in the SEC East in the preseason, but received the third-fewest votes of all teams in the conference. Still, the Tigers defeated No. 7 Ohio State, 11-2, in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl this fall. Now, it looks like Mizzou will be ranked in the top 10 in the final voting.
This is simply surprising considering the Tigers were just 6-7 the past two years and hadn’t won since 2018 under a different coaching staff. Plus, they haven’t had a bowl win since 2014, but are now one of the toasts of the sport.
Western Arizona surprised everyone this year by going 10-3 and defeating No. 12 OU in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Remember, the Wildcats picked him No. 8 in their PAC-12 preseason poll.
Head coach Jed Fisch’s program went just 5-7 last year and went a dreadful 1-11 in 2021. In fact, Zona hasn’t won more than five games since 2017, and he hasn’t won 10 games in a season since 2014. They could also finish the year as a top-10 team.
Closer to home, West Virginia defeated North Carolina State in the Duke-Mayo Bowl. A year ago, WVU was 5-7 overall, and the Mountaineers had just one winning season in the previous four seasons (and that was in the bizarre 2020 season affected by COVID-19). (He had a record of 6 wins and 4 losses.)
Of course, Red Raider fans knew WVU was picked last in the preseason Big 12 poll and many expected head coach Neil Brown to be fired at some point this season. you may remember. Instead, he could lead WVU to a nine-win season and possibly a top-25 ranking for the year.
Don’t sleep on what Northwestern has done this year either. The Wildcats had the most improbable season imaginable, going 8-5 and defeating highly regarded Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. This was despite having to fire head coach Pat Fitzgerald in July following allegations of hazing within the program. Additionally, the Wildcats went just 1-11 in 2022 and 3-9 in 2021.
What Texas Tech fans should learn from the 2023 success of Missouri, Arizona, West Virginia and Northwestern is that even non-blue blood programs can plan for a quick turnaround in the transfer portal era about it. Thanks to easier player movement, he doesn’t need four or five years to build a competitive team in the NCAA. This is good news for a Red Raider program that is desperate for a return to national relevance after years of wandering in the wilds of college football. 10 years.
Fortunately, the tech industry isn’t as dire as the programs listed before breaking out in 2023. The Red Raiders have won his third consecutive season and have won his last three bowl games by a landslide.
Joey McGuire won’t be on the hot seat entering 2024 and it looks like he has nothing in his cupboard. His team won’t be picked last in next year’s preseason Big 12 poll, but rather, given the absence of the red-blooded powerhouses led by Oklahoma and Texas, who can tell? I don’t know, he’ll probably be picked somewhere in the middle of a mixed league. to the SEC.
Still, no one will question the tech companies heading into next season. Especially after the tech company coughed up bits in early 2023 after receiving significant hype from sources inside and outside of the offseason. That’s fine. That means the Red Raiders have a chance to become the 2024 version of Missouri or Arizona, teams that grew from unknowns to top-15 programs in the span of one season.
Next season will be McGuire’s third year in the position. That’s enough time for his culture to fully influence and leave his fingerprints on everything.
He also put together a very good roster that addressed many of the deficiencies plaguing the team in 2023 by effectively navigating the transfer portal. Additionally, Tech will have a slightly more advantageous schedule next year with a non-conference road trip against Washington State in Week 2, replacing Oregon State, and seven home games, including five conference games at Jones Stadium. There is also a fact that it will happen.
So, Texas Tech fans, don’t be afraid to dream again. Of course, some of us are still hurt by the fact that this program came to an abrupt end in September of this year after being chosen as the dark horse of offseason trends. maybe.
But the reality is that every year, some college football team comes out of left field, surprises the nation, and has a magical year. Why not the Red Raiders in 2024? If Missouri and Arizona can make it in 2023, Tech could definitely be the NCAA’s next surprise contender.