Figure the Sun Bowl will be loud and rockin’ at 10 p.m. Central on a Saturday night. And Miners quarterback Jameill Showers will be fired up seeing Kliff Kingsbury, the coach under whom he trained for a year at Texas A&M. The elements are in place for an upset if the Red Raiders aren’t paying attention.
Plenty of angles here: Big 12 vs. SEC. First meeting in 23 years between old Southwest Conference rivals. And Bret Bielema’s deliberate run game vs. the style he loathes, the Kliff Kingsbury hurry-up offense.
at Oklahoma State/at Kansas State
Tech has an open date after non-conference play, which is fortunate timing. Oklahoma State and Kansas State were picked just ahead of Tech in the preseason Big 12 media forecast, and the Red Raiders visit both to start conference play. To finish better than expected, Tech would do well to split.
Tech’s most complete game start to finish in the last several years came two years ago with a 49-14 rout of West Virginia. This year, the Mountaineers’ visit starts a stretch of four home dates in a five-game stretch. The Red Raiders need to make hay on the front end with West Virginia and Kansas on back-to-back Saturdays.
Sonny Cumbie left the Texas Tech staff in December for the chance to call more shots at TCU. The Horned Frogs are hoping co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Cumbie can do a quick fix on an offense that ranked No. 104 in the FBS last season.
Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt has beseeched Big 12 officials to not have to play Texas and Oklahoma on the road in the same season, as was the case in 2011 and 2013. The tradeoff is getting to host the Longhorns and the Sooners in the same season — and only 14 days apart this year. That’ll be a boon for fan interest if the Red Raiders can hold their own through October.
at Iowa State
Talk about a potential letdown game. Tech catches Iowa State between the UT-OU emotional peak and Thanksgiving week. Who knows how chilly the Ames weather will be by this time. And Paul Rhoads has a knack for keeping ISU fans involved, regardless of his team’s fortunes.
This could be the last Tech-Baylor game in Arlington for a while. The contract expires, and the Bears should be less inclined to move games off campus with their new stadium on the Brazos getting ready to open. So if you want to see Bears-Red Raiders tangle where the Cowboys play, this is your chance.