July 14, 2020

#50 Texas Tech Red Raiders

Here we are…THE OFFICIAL KICK-OFF to the 2020 NCAA season here at The 110 Nation Sports. Without any further delay, lets jump into C.J.’s 2020 Top 50 College Football Programs Preview…

The Red Raiders are the first program on my list of the top 50. After watching the Red Raiders go 4-8 last season, the second time in the past decade they have finished with so few wins, and looking at their 2020 schedule…I had no choice but to slap them with the 50th spot on my list.

With top 25 opponents like Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Iowa State and the fact that seven of their 12 opponents are in the top 45, me giving them the 50th spot might have been generous.

Texas Tech 2020 Schedule (projected 6-6, 3-6 Big 12) – *BOLD is projected wins

Sept. 5 at UTEP

Sept. 12 Alabama State

Sept. 19 Arizona

Sept. 28 at Iowa State

Oct. 3 West Virginia

Oct. 15 Baylor

Oct. 24 Texas

Oct. 31 at Oklahoma State

Nov. 7 at Kansas State

Nov. 14 Kansas

Nov. 21 at TCU

Nov. 28 Oklahoma

QB Alan Bowman and the Red Raiders looking to step up their “Air Raid” attack in 2020. Image Credit – (Brad Tollefson / AP)

Offense

The only positive note of 2019 for the Red Raiders was the return of the the famous Air Raid offense. The Red Raiders were ranked 11th nationally in total offense, averaging more than 474 ypg (ranked 7th in passing, 324.7 ypg). That’s even with projected 2020 starter Alan Bowman (1,020 yards with a 65.6 completion rate) out after just three games in 2019. Giving the Red Raiders a lot of hope and optimism for the 2020 season.

Sophmore SaRodorick Thompson looks to be the leading back this season. Thompson is coming off a solid freshman season of 765 yards, 4.8 ypa and 12 TDs. Thompson will look to help keep the defense honest to allow Bowman time and opportunities to air it out.

Problems on and off-the-field in 2019 had Senior T.J. Vasher in-and-out of the line-up. This off-season gave Vasher time to work on getting focused and walking into the 2020 season with a new attitude. Did I mention that he also bulked up in the off-season? Throw all that together and add the return of leading receiver Eric Ezukanma (664 yards and 4 TDs) and that Red Raiders Air Raid offense starts to look real dangerous.

Of course none of this is even possible without a solid offensive line. The return of G Jack Anderson (recovering from surgery) and C Dawson Deaton will help keep the Red Raiders as one of the best lines in the Big 12. Eyes will be on Casey, Verhulst, Zach Adams and Weston Wright, to see if they will be able to step in, being the next man-up and protecting Bowman.

Defense

With a defense that can’t really anymore set backs, the 127th (yes 1-2-7) ranked defense in the nation lost three key players. One at each level, to the draft. Exits DT Broderick Washington Jr. (started all 37 games in his final three seasons), LB Jordyn Brooks (led team with 108 tackles and in tackles for loss with 20. Seventh in school history with 367) and DB Douglas Coleman III (8 INTs in 2019)….but enters, transfer LB Brandon Bouyer-Randle (Michigan State) and Krishon Merriweather (Garden City Community College in Kansas).

Defensive coordinator hopes that these additions with moving LB Riko Jeffers to the #1 linebacker spot, that this defense can become stingy. After finishing last season 91st in the nation on third down conversions, this defense has to find a way to get off the field and give the Air Raid a chance to do their thing.

The Red Raider dense was a dismal 128th against the pass. Eli Howard (14 career sacks, 1805 tackles for loss) has to be the edge rusher they recruited him to be. Sliding former freshman All-American DB Adrian Fryer back to cornerback from safety should help slow down the opposition pass game.

Special Teams

P Austin McNamara will be returning this season. McNamara sent 20 of his 59 punts inside the opposing 20-yard line, with only five touchbacks. K Trey Wolff went 20-of-22 last season, he will also be returning. Giving the Red Raiders some relief and dependability

Final Thought

A tough conference, an even tougher schedule and the never ending rotating of players stacks the odds against this Texas Tech team. They will have to fight just to get that 6-6 (3-6 Big 12) record that I project. Don’t sleep on this program. The Red Raiders have a lot of young talent, which will lead this program to eventually be a threat in the Big 12 again.