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Texas Tech: 2009 Projections

Yesterday we looked at projections for, it's off to the pirate ship known as Lubbock, Texas!

Dude.  Shave.

Until 2008, Mike Leach's tenure at Texas Tech had been startlingly consistent.  Starting in 2000, Leach's Red Raiders have won 7, 7, 9, 8, 8, 9, 8, 9, and 11 games.  There's a slight upward trend there, but clearly after losing Michael Crabtree and Graham Harrell, not to mention some key defensive cogs like defensive ends Brandon Williams and McKinner Dixon and safety Darcel McBath, Tech is likely to take a step backwards in 2009.  If history is any indication, that step backwards will land them back in 8-win territory for at least a year, and as luck would have it, that's what the projections suggest as well!

2009 BTBS Projections

Date Opponent Proj. W/L Margin Record Conf. Rec.
9/5 North Dakota W +36.3 1-0
9/12 Rice W +22.9 2-0
9/19 at Texas L -19.0 2-1 0-1
9/26 at Houston W +6.2 3-1
10/3 New Mexico W +21.2 4-1
10/10 Kansas State W +9.8 5-1 1-1
10/17 at Nebraska L -3.2 5-2 1-2
10/24 Texas A&M W +7.9 6-2 2-2
10/31 Kansas W +0.5 7-2 3-2
11/14 at Oklahoma State L -7.1 7-3 3-3
11/21 Oklahoma L -8.8 7-4 3-4
11/28 vs Baylor W +3.7 8-4 4-4

Using the one-touchdown test, if Tech is a touchdown better than expected, then the Nebraska game likely flips, and the OSU and OU games come within reach.  If they're a touchdown worse, then Houston, Kansas, Baylor and ATM all become losable.

In all, 8-4 was both my gut response and the numbers' pick.  You know Tech's offense will be just fine, but the production will slip at least a smidge, and the defense is an interesting mix of exciting and experienced (guys like Colby Whitlock and Bront Bird are interesting guys to watch) and thin and questionable (Will they generate any sort of pass rush?  And will a relatively green secondary be able to handle the OSU's and KU's on the schedule?).  In the end, I think the defense steps backwards more than the offense, and that makes the biggest difference in a three-game fall, from 11-2 to 8-4, in 2009.

Tomorrow: Off to College Station we go...