The Case Against the Blackout

At least once a year in Lubbock, Texas Tech announces its annual “Blackout Game” at Jones AT&T Stadium. Typically, this is a night game pitted against a top-ranked team and/or heated rival where the team and the fans wear all black as an act of solidarity and intimidation.

The best I can tell, the tradition really took hold in 2007 against Oklahoma where Texas Tech defeated the No. 4 Sooners in Lubbock. The teams and fans all wore black for that game.

The blackout was called upon twice in 2008 as Texas Tech took down No. 1 Texas and No. 9 Oklahoma State in back-to-back weeks. It appeared that a winning tradition was born.

The list below is a compilation of all known blackout games since 2007 for football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball.

Date Opponent Sport US THEM W/L Score Diff. Team Unis
11/17/2007 Oklahoma Football 34 27 W 7 All Black
11/1/2008 Texas Football 39 33 W 6 All Black
11/8/2008 Oklahoma St. Football 56 20 W 36 All Black
10/24/2009 Texas A&M Football 30 52 L 22 All Black
10/8/2011 Texas A&M Football 40 45 L 5 All Black
2/1/2012 Texas A&M Women’s Basketball 55 67 L 12 ??
10/6/2012 Oklahoma Football 20 41 L 21 All Black
9/12/2013 Texas Christian Football 20 10 W 10 All Grey/Gray
11/2/2013 Oklahoma St. Football 34 52 L 18 All Black
2/8/2014 Oklahoma St. Men’s Basketball 65 61 W 4 All White
9/13/2014 Arkansas Football 28 49 L 21 Black/Black/Grey
2/4/2015 Kansas St. Men’s Basketball 64 47 W 17 All Black
10/31/2015 Oklahoma St. Football 53 70 L 17 All Black
2/17/2016 Oklahoma Men’s Basketball 65 63 W 2 All Black
10/22/2016 Oklahoma Football 59 66 L 7 All Black
2/11/2017 Kansas Men’s Basketball 79 80 L 1 All Black


Adam, a friend and fellow Red Raider, mentioned a while back that this gimmick hasn’t worked at the Jones for Tech in years. I wasn’t fully sure until I started looking at the numbers, but it appears he is right.

In blackout games since 2008, Texas Tech Football is 1-7 (0.125), Texas Tech Basketball is 3-1 (.750) and Texas Tech Women’s Basketball is 0-1 (.000).

The only win since 2008 for football came against TCU in 2013 (the fox game). What’s interesting is that even though it was deemed a blackout, the team wore grey/gray unis. In a sense, that disqualifies it. The men’s basketball team also has a disqualifying win over Oklahoma State (the Marcus Smart game) as they were wearing all white.

The football losses since 2008 have been very poor showings on defense. If my math is right, Texas Tech allowed an average of 53.5 points/game including scores of 70 and 66 in the last two.

Texas Tech football, as we all know, is in a state of uncertainty. The blackout era has long since passed. It left Lubbock when Leach was fired, but we continued to cling to it even when it didn’t make sense. Coach Kingsbury has implemented the #EarnTheDoubleT mentality at practice. Sure, it’s just a gimmick, but maybe it will work. What if we apply the same thing to the blackout? There is a lot more that goes into winning a football game than who’s wearing what (#fashionblog), but Texas Tech needs to win a big home game at night a time or two before we get the old #blackoutthejones hashtag going.

Texas Tech has traditions great enough for other schools to outright copy. Keeping the “Blackout Game” alive when it has been so ineffective for so long feels forced. Let’s let this one go as if it were a flour tortilla at kickoff.

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