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College Football 2013: Texas Tech Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 7/17/2013 7:35:25 PM

When a reputable sportsbook establishes odds on a given event or proposition, it is making a statement about that theater of activity. For the Texas Tech Red Raiders in 2013, there should be a lot of activity on the offensive side of the ball. The question will be if the Red Raiders’ defense is up to the task.

A savvy bet on sports gains leverage versus the competition by assessing the balance of strengths and weaknesses on a team, and then weighing that tension against the characteristics of an opponent. In 2013, Texas Tech will take the field with the superior offense on most occasions, and also an inferior defense. What the locals in Lubbock, Tex., will be concerned with is if their team can establish its superiority 80 percent of the time and not just 60 percent of the time. A strong majority, not a slight majority, will be sought by Red Raider partisans this fall.

For people interested in football betting, it has to be said that the foremost story of this team is its new head coach. Former Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury returns to his alma mater as a young hotshot head coach. Kingsbury was the coach of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel last season at Texas A&M, and he parlayed that success into a power-conference head-coaching gig. The question which will immediately and rightly surface is if Kingsbury was the product of Manziel and Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin, or if he was legitimately great on his own, the driving force behind A&M’s ascendancy last season. If Kingsbury is the real deal, Texas Tech will soar… but football people are sharply divided about Kingsbury’s actual quality.

That’s enough about the head coach. What about the quarterback?

Here’s an excerpt of an article by Mike Graham of the Dallas Morning News on July 8, talking about Texas Tech’s new starting quarterback for the coming season: “… in a conference where strong quarterbacks are the norm Michael Brewer doesn’t receive much notice because Texas Tech has been marginal the past three seasons. Brewer will be key to any offensive success this season based on the fact the ball will be in his hands at some point during every meaningful play this season.

“The backstory: Brewer succeeded current SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert at Lake Travis High School in Austin in the midst of dominance on the 4A level similar to Southlake Carroll’s concurrent dominance at the 5A level. Lake Travis, which moved up to the 5A classification last year, ahas the state record with five consecutive football championships and missed the state championship game in 2012 for the first time since 2006. Gilbert quarterbacked the Cavaliers to the first two state championships and Brewer led the team to the third and fourth championships.”

Finally, a word is merited about this team’s defense: When you think of most teams in the Big 12, you think offense and rightfully so.  Most of the league eschews defense in favor of simply outscoring its opponents and getting on highlight reels.  Texas Tech’s defense started the 2012 season in fine form, but it steadily deteriorated with each successive week.  The unit saw its numbers slide as opponents realized they could run the ball effectively and keep the high octane Red Raider offense on the sideline.  At the end of the 2012 regular season, the Red Raiders’ defense ranked just 76th in the country in stopping the run (171.4 yards per game) and 91st nationally in scoring defense (31.8 points per game).  The other major weakness for this team a year ago was turnover differential, falling to minus-12 heading into its bowl game against Minnesota.  The Red Raiders snagged just seven 7 interceptions and forced a conference-low three fumbles in the regular season.  They’ll have to do a lot better in 2013 for this team to contend for the Big 12 title.



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