It's Texas Tech week here on Frogs O' War, and we've reviewed their history as well as had a discussion with some tech fans about which team is deeper. In true Fort Worth tradition you can't help but bump into Tech fans wherever you go, so why not get in touch with their local blog boss and see if he can shed some western wisdom with us? Seth of the fantastic Tech blog Double T Nation was kind enough to answer our questions, and his blog is always a good read- check it out. For now though, make the jump as we get reacquainted with the folks in red and black.
HawkeyedFrog: The TCU/Tech series has always struck me as a friendly/fraternal rivalry than the SMU/Baylor series ever have- Growing up in Fort Worth I knew so many Red Raider families that it was hard not to root for them when they weren't playing TCU. That said, beating Tech has always been a big deal to the alums, and the first home game that TCU had that had that real magic in the air among the fans- the "this is a big deal" vibe- since the demise of the SWC was the 2006 Tech game. How does Tech view the TCU series?
Seth: I'll just speak for myself here, but I am very glad that TCU is part of the Big 12. I was actually very drunk and in attendance at the 2006 Texas Tech vs. TCU game and it was shocking, even while I was drunk. But overall, I think it should be a very healthy series and I'm looking forward to seeing the experiment of TCU play out during the course of the season. The way I look at it, TCU and Texas Tech are the most western teams in the Big 12 and I'd love for the rivalry to pick up and be a bigger part of the Big 12. For a lot of the Big 12 teams, they are secondary rivals to other teams. For example, UT has OU, but for UT, Texas Tech is a secondary rivalry and Oklahoma St. is a secondary rivalry (except for those people that live in Oklahoma). You get the idea, there are the rivalries that the entire country cares about and then there are rivalries that are more regional. I think Texas Tech and TCU should set up to be a terrific rivalry going forward.
HawkeyedFrog: Fair or not, Tech has had a reputation for not really caring too much about the defensive side of the ball since the beginning of the Mike Leach era. That can work out for you if you're putting 40-plus points on the board week in and week out, but the offense has regressed under Tuberville. If not even once-and-future TCU secondary coach Chad Glasgow can fix the defense, there are problems. What was the thought about Glasgow's departure, and can Tech improve defensively with their third defensive coordinator in three years?
Seth: Just to clarify, Texas Tech is under it's 4th coordinator in four years. Yep. There was apparently no love lost when Glasgow left. It was a strange termination, but from what I could tell it was mutual. Texas Tech safety Cody Davis wrote about the last four defensive coordinators ( http://thestudentofthegame.blogspot.com/2012/07/ask-athlete-3.html ) and rated them in terms of ease of learning the system and enjoyment of playing and Glasgow ranked 3rd of the four for ease of learning and 4th out of four for enjoyment of playing. Apparently Glasgow never let the sun shine in even when it was maybe okay to shower some praise on the players when they do well. As to defensive improvement, that's the $1 million question and Texas Tech fans are hopeful. I'd be happy for a relative bump in improvement, to maybe the 70's or so and yes, this means that my expectations are incredibly low.
HawkeyedFrog: Speaking of Tuberville, the pundits and fans alike seem to have him high on the hot seat list after Tech's bowl streak was snapped last season, but (outsider's perspective here) the administration has seemed firmly in his corner since the Mike Leach firing fiasco. What will it take for Tuberville to stick in Lubbock after this season, and more than that what would he have to do in the next two-three years to unite the Tech fans behind him (or is that just an impossibility barring a Big 12/national title run)?
Seth: I think that Tuberville will win just enough games to stick around this year and make the idea of an extension problematic. The administration very much wants to support Tuberville, but in between when Leach was terminated and now, Texas Tech hired Kirby Hocutt as the athletic director and I think that he understands the concept of not accepting mediocrity. Or at least that's the hope. So for me, I think that Tuberville wins anywhere between 7 and 8 games, which is obviously an improvement, keeps his job and now Hocutt has to decide whether or not to extend Tuberville (for recruiting purposes). I don't know that Tuberville will ever really be able to unite Texas Tech fans, unless he wins, but I'd guess that even then, he'll still have his detractors. There's still a lot of bitterness over the way Leach was terminated and could see that come to a boil if Texas Tech has another losing season.
HawkeyedFrog: Down a traditional power (Nebraska), a wannabe traditional power (A&M), and two historically solid mid-level programs (Colorado and Mizzou) somehow Frankenstein's monster conference has had new parts bolted on and seems to be in working order for the long haul. What do you think of the new look Big 12 and do you think that expansion back up to twelve would be best for the conference?
Seth: I'd like to see the conference get back to 12 and really feel that there needs to be a partner for West Virginia and have always liked the idea of adding Louisville. After that, I'm really pretty open to any other options. And I do like the 10 teams of the Big 12. I can't say that I'm sad about losing TAMU other than the fact that a large portion of my family are Aggies and I'll miss the good-natured back-and-forth between with my uncles and father. I know that they aren't happy about the move because they really can't realistically travel to away games, whereas in the Big 12, the teams were much closer and within a days driving distance. West Virginia is the odd fit, but if the Big 12 can get Louisville and one more team, then I think the Big 12 would be as good of a conference as there is.
HawkeyedFrog: Last season started strong for the Red Raiders, winning the first four and dropping what could have easily been wins over A&M and K-State due to bad turnovers. A win over Oklahoma had hopes looking up, but then the wheels just fell off entirely leading to the pollsters and prognosticators being really low on Tech this year. What happened to make the second half of the season such a disaster for Tech, and is it fixable?
Seth: A lot of people point to injuries to key positions, which did happen, but the reality is that the defense was awful and the offense, despite being very good, was very inconsistent last year. So the hope is that with the new defensive coordinator, a senior quarterback and some talented position players, the team should be better. The problem is that I think the conference is getting better as well and now it's a matter of keeping up with and trying to pass everyone else. When you get down, it's incredibly difficult to pull yourself back up.
HawkeyedFrog: Finally to wrap up, three mini-questions on the Texas Tech 2012 season. What do you think Tech's record will be, what do you think happens in the TCU game and who is your best guess for Texas Tech's coach next season?
Seth: I think that Texas Tech will win 7 games and a bowl game, so 8 wins total. I think Texas Tech and TCU will play a very close game, but ultimately I think TCU wins it at home. Still think it will be Tuberville.
HawkeyedFrog: I like the "TCU wins" part of that prediction. Thanks so much to Seth for answering our questions and good luck to Texas Tech this season.