The Texas Tech football team is a month away from kicking off its 2012 season, and players and coaches aren’t the only ones grinding away in preparation.
The school’s athletic department says it has sold about 30,200 season tickets for the upcoming campaign, which exceeds the total sold in 2011. With a goal of 36,000 tickets, the next 30 days will be key as the department aims to fill Jones AT&T Stadium.
“August is a big month for us,” Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said. “We usually sell 4,000 to 5,000 season tickets in August.”
A similar push this year would give Tech the chance to surpass its school record of 34,000 season tickets, the number sold during coach Tommy Tuberville’s first season in 2010. Those figures do not include the 12,500 tickets allotted for Tech students.
Tech is coming off a season in which it missed a bowl game for the first time since 1999, but a highly competitive home schedule has fans keeping phone lines and ticket counters busy.
The Red Raiders will host Oklahoma (No. 16 in the final 2011 Associated Press poll), new Big 12 Conference member West Virginia (No. 17) and Texas (received votes) this season. This will be the first time in 20 years that Tech hosts both Oklahoma and Texas in the same season.
“Without question, this is probably the best home schedule we’ve ever had,” said associate athletic director of communications Blayne Beal. “We’re talking about two teams, with Oklahoma and West Virginia, that are picked atop the Big 12, both predicted to do big things nationally — and then you have Texas. Those three games alone are worth the price of a season ticket.”
Tech hosted three ranked teams in 2010 — No. 4 Texas, No. 18 Oklahoma State and No. 14 Missouri. Before then, though, Tech hadn’t welcomed such a schedule of teams to Lubbock since 1990, when the Red Raiders hosted three teams in the top 20. That included an eighth-ranked Miami team that featured Tuberville on its staff.
Beal said Tech has sold out of its lowest-priced ticket plans of $169, but it still has packages available for $189. As a reference, he said, a single-game ticket to the Nov. 3 Texas contest — which will be released for sale at a later date — will cost in the neighborhood of $95.
“For (about) $89 more you can go to all six games,” said Beal, who added that installment plans are available. “It’s a much better value.”
The home schedule was not kind to the Red Raiders last season, when they won only two of their six games at Jones AT&T Stadium — none against Big 12 Conference teams — with two of the defeats coming in blowout fashion. Tuberville said at Big 12 media days in Dallas last week that increased depth, particularly on defense, is the main reason he believes Saturdays in Lubbock will be a better experience for fans this season.
“The big thing I’m excited about is we get a little closer defensively,” Tuberville said. “We haven’t had enough depth to compete in this league with all the high-powered offenses we’ve seen over the last couple of years. You need around 30 players that can go day in, day out and play in this league, and we’ve been about half that.
“But we’ve pretty much doubled our talent on that side of the ball. We’ve taken some junior college players. Most of the guys that played last year are back with us, and I think they’re going to help.”
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