Friday, August 29, 2008

Texas Tech 2008 Season Prediction

It's Friday night...which means some of you have started up your first tailgate of the year. I'm stuck in Dallas for another 9 hours before I make the first of 3 treks to Lubbock this season (I'll also be at SMU and Texas as well as OU in Norman) to root on the Red Raiders. Since we're just about as close as we can get to the start of the Big 12 season (we won't consider Baylor's shellacking last night)'s time for my 2008 predictions.

Texas Tech 56 Eastern Washington 13 (1-0) - Harrell and company will pick apart an Eagles secondary that is without both starting CB's for 300 yds by halftime as Tech heads to the locker room up 42-3. At this point it's a matter of how long the Leach and Ruff want to play the starters.

Texas Tech 52 Nevada 17 (2-0) - A game that's 17-14 Tech at the half is out of reach by the start of the 4th. The offense kicks it in gear after a slow start as Harrell takes a few drives to adjust to throwing the ball at 5000 ft elevation. The defense turns in another very solid performance despite giving up 14 early points due to good field position for Nevada.

Texas Tech 70 SMU 14 (3-0) - June Jones is welcomed to West Texas with the Ponies' worst loss of the season. Tech scores as much as they want in this game as the Air Raid throws for 500+ against the Ponies and Shannon Woods turns in a nice 100 yd rush/50 yd receiving game.

Texas Tech 66 UMass 7 (4-0) - One more rout as the Red Raiders finish off their ho hum non-conference schedule. The defense is the star in this one, holding the Minutemen to under 150 yds total offense and scoring at least 1 TD.

Texas Tech 48 Kansas State 17 (5-0, 1-0) - The Red Raiders make their first big statement of the year in the "Little Apple" as Woods, Batch, and Crawford combine for 150 yds on the ground and remind Daniel Calvin over and over of his mistake in choosing to play for the Wildcats. Oh...and the Swarm repeatedly tells Josh Freeman to STFU as they get to the QB for 4 sacks and hit him 10+ times!

Texas Tech 35 Nebraska 20 (6-0, 2-0) - The good news for Nebraska...they hold Tech to half the points that they allowed the last time they visited Lubbock. The bad news for Nebraska...they can only double their offensive output from the last time they visited Lubbock. Joe Ganz makes some nice plays and Bo Pelini's defense shows flashes of greatness...but the Huskers still have a ways to go as Tech easily rolls over Big Red for a 35-6 lead before the Huskers get 2 late 4th quarter TD's against Tech's 2nd and 3rd string defense.

Texas Tech 52 Texas A&M 17 (7-0, 3-0) - The 12th Man is worked into a frenzy midway through the 3rd quarter when JaPorky Lane belly flops into the endzone and the football explodes. Unfortunately the score is now and 42-10 and aggie is quickly returned to their miserable existence as this happens:

Welcome to the new Big 12 Mike Sherman!

Texas Tech 41 Kansas 38 OT (8-0, 4-0) - Tech falls in a HUGE hole early (think 24-3 middle 2nd quarter) as the perennial A&M hangover is evident on the team. However, this year is different...and the Air Raid gets a late TD just before half and comes out with a strong drive to start the 3rd quarter and cut the deficit to 24-21.

A quick 3 and out from the Jayhawks and Harrell finds Detron Lewis in the endzone 4 plays later. It feels like the rout is at 28-24 on but these aren't your daddy's Jayhawks. Kansas goes on a methodical 14 play drive and chews up the rest of the 3rd quarter, putting a TD on the board to start the 4th quarter with a 31-28 lead. Unfortunately for Rock Chalk, the Air Raid is operating at 100% efficiency and finds pay dirt with just under 10 minutes left and reclaims the lead at 35-31.

Todd Reesling refuses to lose this game and is scrambling all over the backfield to avoid Sesay, Williams, et al and finally gets a TD on the board after converting 3 3rd downs and 1 4th down on a drive that takes just under 8 minutes off the clock.

This time, the Air Raid moves the ball down the field but can't reach the endzone in time and has to call on true frosh Donnie Carona to keep the dream season alive from 42 yds out. Fortunately, Carona quickly stamps his name in TT lore and shows ice cold veins just like his predecessor, Alex Trlica.

In overtime, L.A. Reed makes his switch to defense worthwhile as he steps in front of a Todd Reesling pass and takes it 78 yds to pay dirt. However, Randy Christal is officiating the game and flags Reed for excessive celebration/taunting on his way into the endzone. Thanks to rule changes in 2008, this is a 15 yd penalty and Texas Tech takes over at the KU 40 yd line for it's first possession of overtime.

Fortunately for the Red Raiders, Christal can't do much about Michael Crabtree as he picks up 21 yds on consecutive passes from Harrell. Leach wastes no time in getting out of Lawrence with a victory and sends in Carona for a 34 yd FG attempt on 2nd and 8 (Harrell ran a QB sneak to get the ball in between the hashes). Carona comes through again...Raiders win...get the hell out of Kansas before Mangino gets hungry!

Texas Tech 55 Texas 31 (9-0, 5-0) - Graham Harrell send the Horns and their putrid secondary packing. Will Muschamp just might be the latest and greatest DC on the market...but very few times your first experience facing the Air Raid a good one...and his is no different. This is Harrell's statement game for the Heisman as he throws for 450+ and 5 TD's.

Texas Tech 42 Oklahoma State 21 (10-0, 6-0) - Yet another year of the home team winning this game. Tech is sluggish to get going for an 11AM start and it's 14-14 at the half. Things finally click late in the 3rd quarter with the score knotted at 21 all and the Red Raiders win going away...setting up a HUGE showdown in Norman in 2 weeks.

Oklahoma 38 Texas Tech 34 (10-1, 6-1) - The Red Raiders channels visions of the 2007 OU game as they go up 27-10 in the 2nd quarter. However, Sam Bradford finds Manuel Johnson for a late TD and the teams go to the locker room at 27-17. A big 3rd quarter has the Sooners taking a 38-27 lead into the final period of play. Harrell and company are able to orchestrate one scoring drive to get within 4 points with under 4 minutes to play...but they can't get the ball back until there's 30 seconds left on the clock and 70 yds of field in front of them...and the dreams of a perfect season fall just short on a bitterly cold night in Norman.

Texas Tech 42 Baylor 24 (11-1, 7-1) - The Bears show glimpses of improvement under Art Briles and they hang with Tech through halftime with the scoreboard reading 21-17. However, the Red Raiders superior talent shines through in the 3rd quarter and Leach finally calls the dogs off early in the 4th quarter after 3 straight TD drives with the game in hand. Baylor scores a late TD to cover the spread...and Tech's seniors go out as a part of one of the best Texas Tech classes ever, finishing with 45 wins over a 5 year period.

Parting Thoughts

If the season plays out even remotely close to what I've conjured up, I think many a Tech fan will be able to look back and smile at the end of the year. I'm not going to predict if 11-1 gets Tech into the Big 12 Championship or a BCS game because 1) those things are out of Tech's control and 2) they had their chance to seal a Big 12 Championship in the OU game. If 11-1 puts Tech in the Cotton Bowl vs Auburn or LSU...I'm happy. If 11-1 puts Tech in a BCS Bowl game...I think all but the most naive Red Raider will be thrilled beyond measure.

So now let's sit back...root for our team at all times...stop waiting for the Germans to bomb the Jones...and enjoy the ride!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Texas Tech vs Eastern Washington - Simulation

With temperatures in the low 80's and a nice, steady breeze out of the Southwest, your Texas Tech Red Raiders begin their 2008 season against the Eastern Washington Eagles. Unfortunately, I forgot to save all of the photos that I took from this game so this simulation won't be as fun to look at as future posts.

1st Quarter (EWU will kickoff)

- Ed Britton with a very nice 34 yd kickoff return out to the TT 43 yd line.
- After 2 runs by Shannon Woods net 9 yards, Harrell goes to deep to Crabtree but the ball is knocked away by the defense.
- Tech goes for it on 4th down with a backfield of Crawford and Crabtree. Crabtree takes the ball on a pitch from Harrell and goes 49 yards untouched to the endzone.

Texas Tech 7
Eastern Washington 0
Early 1st Quarter

- Two runs for a loss and a deflected pass and the Eagles are punting.

- Eric Morris with a huge 23 yd return to the EWU 38 yd line.
- On 1st and 10 from the EWU 27, Harrell finds Crabtree at the 13 yd line. He makes 1 man miss and finds the endzone for a TD.

Texas Tech 14
Eastern Washington 0
9:44 1st quarter

- Marcus Bunton welcomes an EWU to the Big 12 with a huge clothesline to break up a pass that would've given the Eagles a first down.

- Finding no luck running the ball, the Eagles try a screen pass on 3rd down but that is quickly snuffed out by the Tech defense and they have to punt again.

- Eric Morris with another great return to give the Air Raid the ball on their opponents 30 yd line.
- Harrell tries to thread the needle on a pass to Adrian Reese on 3rd and long but the ball falls incomplete.
- Donnie Carona calmly converts his first Big 12 FG from 45 yds out.

Texas Tech 17
Eastern Washington 0
7:22 1st quarter

- Anthony Hines steps in front of a pass on 1st down and returns it to the EWU 13 yd line before being knocked out of bounds.
- 2 plays later, Crabtree again finds the endzone, this time on a WR sweep.

Texas Tech 24
Eastern Washington 0
6:44 left in 1st quarter

- Marcus Bunton picks off a pass at the EWU 43 yd line and returns it for a TD. This is absolutely brutal. I could be leaving before halftime!

Texas Tech 31
Eastern Washington 0
4:12 left in 1st quarter

- Things are turning around for EWU now. They get a nice kickoff return and a first down before having to punt. This time they stop EMo after a 3 yd punt return and the Air Raid will take over at their own 25 yd line.
- Things don't stay that way for long though as Harrell finds Ed Britton behind the safeties for a 69 yd completion and TD.

Texas Tech 38
Eastern Washington 0
1:14 left in 1st quarter

- Another 3 and out for the Eagles but the first quarter is FINALLY over!

Texas Tech 38
Eastern Washington 0
End of 1st Quarter

- Texas Tech is unable to move the ball and tries a fake punt on 4th and long from the EWU 46. However the pass is knocked down and the Eagles take over.
- After EWU gets 2 first downs, Brandon Sesay destroys the QB on 3rd down and his pass falls hopelessly to the ground.

- After a relatively quiet start to the 2nd quarter, Crabtree streaks down the sideline and is an easy target for Harrell to find; this time it's for a 66 yd TD, Crabtree's 4th of the day.

Texas Tech 45
Eastern Washington 0
8:12 2nd Quarter

- Harrell goes deep over the middle but underthrows Adrian Reese and the pass is easily picked off by a waiting safety with just under 6 minutes left.
- Former Tech WR turned CB (he's currently injured in real life) L.A. Reed makes up for his old QB's mistake and intercepts a pass 3 plays later.
- This time it's a 2 play drive that ends with Harrell finding Detron Lewis for a 19 yd TD.

Texas Tech 52
Eastern Washington 0
4:23 2nd Quarter

- The Red Raiders finally have a long, sustained drive that ends with Harrell finding Adrian Reese in the corner of the end zone on a 3 yd pass.

Texas Tech 59
Eastern Washington 0
0:23 2nd Quarter

- For good measure, Brandon Sesay bull rushes the opposing OT and sacks the QB to end the first half.

Texas Tech 59
Eastern Washington 0

Noteable Stats
- Graham Harrell is 18 of 27 for 279 yds 5 TD's and 1 INT
- Michael Crabtree has 7 receptions for 139 yds and 2 TD's as well as 2 carries for 51 yds and 2 TD's
- Ed Britton has 3 catches for 81 yds and 1 TD
- Brandon Sesay has 2 tackles, 1 QB sack, 1 tackle for loss, and 2 QB hurries
- The hypothetical L.A. Reed leads the defense with 5 tackles and 1 INT. He also has 2 pass deflections
- Eastern Washington has 28 net yards in the first half (37 passing, -9 rushing)
- Texas Tech has 341 net yards in the first half

Start of 3rd Quarter

- The backups are in now for Tech's offense. The defense is a mixture of starters and 2nd string guys.

- EWU drives inside Tech's 35 yd line but can't make a 48 yd FG.

Texas Tech 59
Eastern Washington 0
8:39 3rd Quarter

- Taylor Potts leads the offense to the EWU 26 yd line but badly misjudges the defense and throws the ball to a wide open LB.
- On their next possession, Potts is 3 of 3 and finishes off the drive by finding Harrison Jeffers on a screen pass where he's able to show off his talent by making 3 guys miss on his way to a 39 yd TD catch and run.

Texas Tech 66
Eastern Washington 0
4:40 3rd Quarter

- Anthony Hines picks off a pass at the EWU 32 yd line but Tech has to settle for a FG to start the 4th quarter.

Texas Tech 69
Eastern Washington 0
14:44 4th Quarter

- Another inconsistent drive from Taylor Potts ends with Donnie Carona bouncing a 37 yd FG attempt off the left upright...8:19 left in the 4th

- Taylor Potts finds Detron Lewis in the corner of the endzone for a 14 yd TD pass.

Texas Tech 76
Eastern Washington 0
3:46 4th Quarter

- Eastern Washington gets the ball down inside the Tech 5 yd line but loses 3 yds on 3 plays. They go for it on 4th down but Brandon Sesay blows up the halfback on an attempted HB screen and the Eagles still don't get on the board.

Texas Tech 76
Eastern Washington 0
2:02 4th Quarter

- Graham Harrell in at QB now (no idea why). After a long run is called back due to holding, Harrell finds Detron Lewis for a 97 yd TD pass with just under a minute left.

Texas Tech 83
Eastern Washington 0
:53 4th Quarter


Total Offense...663...166
Passing Offense...33 of 60 589 yds 8 TD's 2 INT's...15 of 36 134 yds 0 TD's 4 INT's
Rushing Offense...12 carries 74 yds 2 TD's...36 carries 32 yds 0 TD's

Graham Harrell - 19 of 29 376 yds 6 TD's 1 INT
Taylor Potts - 13 of 29 199 yds 2 TD's 1 INT

Michael Crabtree - 7 catches 139 yds 2 TD's, 2 carries 51 yds 2 TD's
Detron Lewis - 11 catches 234 yds 3 TD's
Eric Morris - 7 catches 86 yds

Brian Duncan - 7 tackles 1 tackle for loss 1 INT 2 pass deflections
L.A. Reed (hypothetical) - 7 tackles 1 INT 2 pass deflections
Brandon Sesay - 5 tackles (3 for loss) 2 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

College Football Pick'Em Contest

I'm going to be running a college football pick'em contest this year.

If you are interested, post a comment to this thread WITH YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS and I'll send you over the info on how to sign up.

Here's how it will work:

- Pick 5 teams (1 from Pool A, 1 from Pool B, 1 from Pool C, 1 from Pool D, 1 from Pool E)
- You earn points each time your team wins a game.

Here's the point structure:
1 pt for non-conference win
2 pts for conference win
3 pts for conference championship
5 points for bowl game win
8 points for BCS bowl game win
10 points for BCS National Championship

- Points will be tallied up at weekly and sent out via email.

Tiebreak Procedures:
1. Your team wins national championship
2. # of BCS bowl teams on your roster
3. # of BCS bowl game wins
4. # of bowl game wins
5. # of conference championships
6. # of wins from Pool E team

E-mail me your picks by this Friday at 5PM CST. If you can't have them to me by that time, let me know and I can give you an extension until Saturday morning. Feel free to pass this along to others that you think might be interested.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Football Season is FINALLY here!!!

I guess now is as good a time as any to come out of hibernation. Football season is upon with the season opening game vs Eastern Washington coming up this Saturday. Here's what I'm working on this week:

- Season prediction (all games, scores included)
- NCAA 09 prediction of EWU vs TT
- Preview on EWU

While I return to other less important things, I leave you with this video from a recent EWU football function:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's a sellout!!!

That's right...season tickets for Texas Tech's 2008 season are all gone as of this morning. A press release hasn't come out yet but you can no longer buy any season tickets online.

Additionally, single game tickets Texas (and the 2 game mini-pack option), @ aggie, and @ OU are also sold out. You can buy a 3-game pack for EWU, Okie Lite, and Baylor for $125/ticket. There are a limited number of seats available in the north endzone and the upper level corners.

If there was ever a year that the athletic department needed the money (with them needing to get Leach a new contract ASAP) this was the year for the sellout. Now it's time for a 10+ win season and increasing national and statewide prominence for the Red Raiders.