After the Texas Tech football team’s 62-28 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday night, there is no reason to remain emotionally invested in this program.
Some seasons are just so bad that there comes a time when fans simply have no choice but to throw in the towel despite the fact that there are several games left to be played. Saturday night, when Oklahoma treated the Texas Tech football team as a dog treats a fire hydrant was certainly a sign that the 2020 campaign has reached that point.
But what’s worse is the fact that it may also have been the point that the few fans that still cared about Red Raider football became emotionally uninvested in the program as a whole. After all, there simply appears to be no reason to continue to give of ourselves to a program that doesn’t give us one cent of a return on our investment.
We’ve hung on long enough. It’s been since 2009 that this program even managed just a winning Big 12 record. Yet, for many die-hard fans, we’ve continued to return on a yearly basis as dedicated to our migration patterns as are the Canada geese that call the South Plains home every winter.
However, even geese are smart enough that if they were to continually fly into a huge glass wall north of Plainview, they would eventually find a new place to call home for the winter. So why should Texas Tech football fans continue to subject ourselves to the sports equivalent of the same fate by repeatedly giving in to our romantic notions of what Texas Tech football used to be only to be smacked in the face by the reality that this once-proud program is now nothing but layup victory for any Big 12 team with a pulse?
The harsh reality is that this program has no future as currently constructed. With each passing week, it becomes more and more likely that Matt Wells is a lame-duck head coach who is just trying to tread water rather than produce tangible success. What’s more, the talent currently on this roster does little to provide hope for a brighter future. After all, we just saw Tech take the field with the most talented team in the Big 12 and the result was a mercy-killing by OU and Lincoln Riley who could have hung 100 points on his alma mater had he so desired to.
It’s a sobering thought but ask yourself which player on the Red Raider roster would be a sure-fire starter for the Sooners. Perhaps the only one would be Austin McNamara…the punter.
Were Tech struggling through a 2-4 start to a season with a group of players that have the potential to be All-Big 12 performers down the road, we would have a logical reason to stay invested in the progress of the latest rebuild. After all, we endured a similar season in 2016-17 with the Texas Tech basketball team in Chris Beard’s first year when his team was just 18-14 overall and 6-12 in conference play.
But whereas Beard had players like Keenan Evans, Zach Smith, Norense Odiase, and Justin Gray to build around, similar foundational pieces aren’t in place for Wells and Co. In fact, as this year slogs along, we find ourselves with even more questions than we had when the year began.
For starters, we have no idea what the future of the QB position is but we know that the answer isn’t on campus at this point. With Alan Bowman already having lost the starting job and Henry Colombi not possessing the arm strength to be a legitimate Big 12 starter, this program has taken a step backward at the game’s most important position…one that we thought was in decent shape when fall camp began.
But most importantly, we have no reason to be confident in the leadership of the program. Wells has given us no indication that his system is turning the tide nor are his methods paying dividends. His gambles on transfers over high school talent have left the program in the midst of an identity crisis as he tries unsuccessfully to piecemeal together a quick fix for a problem that has been a decade in the making.
What’s even worse is that his only accountability is to a man who has been an abject failure when it comes to building successful football programs. Thus, looking towards Kirby Hocutt as any type of savior or beacon of hope is laughable for Red Raider fans.
Even worse, Hocutt and Wells are tied together meaning that the leash for the floundering head coach will be longer than it should be. Remember, Hocutt gave Wells a whopping six-year initial contract thus making any potential buyout all the more expensive should that transaction take place sooner rather than later.
Also, Hocutt’s reputation as an AD is on the line with the Wells hiring meaning that it is in his best interest to give Wells all the time he possibly can before making a move. If you thought Hocutt was reluctant to fire Kliff Kingsbury, wait until we see how much he drags his feet when it comes time to can Wells.
It all adds up to the unfortunate reality that Wells is almost certain to be in his current position through next season at the least. That is unless the bottom completely falls out of this year and his team loses out…or unless Hocutt jumps ship for another opportunity.
So Red Raider fans now have two choices. Continue to give our emotions to a football program that is just going to leave us frustrated and disappointed week after week or tune out emotionally and stop caring what happens at Jones Stadium until new leadership is in place.
The choice is obvious for any sane individual (of course, by being Texas Tech football fans through the last decade, our sanity has to be in question). There are other great things going on in life. It is the Holiday season, the heat has broken in Texas, Red Raider basketball is about to begin. Why continue to let Red Raider football ruin our weekends anymore?
Sure, we’ll still watch because it is what we are conditioned to do in the fall. Plus, who can turn away from a real-life comedy of errors? But unfortunately, there’s no reason to remain emotionally invested in Red Raider football. After all, judging by what we’ve seen in 2020, it doesn’t seem like all that many of the people inside the program are all that invested either.