Will Texas Tech Play In the 2024 Cotton Bowl?

Texas Tech Cotton Bowl

Brett McMurphy from Stadium has dropped his Never Too Early Bowl Projections and Texas Tech is right in the middle of the New Years Six hunt.

The Final 4-Team playoff in McMurphy’s Universe will feature Georgia, Washington, Florida State, and Michigan. The next four out, to use an NCAA Tournament phrase, would be Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama and Texas Tech.

Just a solid group of blue blood programs there.

If the Red Raiders are able to win the Big 12 at a record of 11-2 or 10-3, they’d be on the outside of the playoff but firmly in the mix for the Cotton Bowl. The rematch of the 2006 Cotton Bowl with Alabama would be icing on top of that cake, but I don’t see Alabama missing the playoff twice in a row.

Let’s ignore the opponent for now and just discuss what has to happen for Texas Tech to achieve at a high level in 2023.

Consistent QB Play:

Whether it’s been health or performance, Texas Tech hasn’t had a 12-game starter since Patrick Mahomes in 2016. There have been Quarterbacks who have played at a high level for stretches, but no gunslinger has slung the rock for Texas Tech at a high level since the NFL MVP was on campus. For Texas Tech to be in the Cotton Bowl, Tyler Shough or Behren Morton will need to play at a high level for all 12 regular season games and in the Big 12 Championship game.

The Schedule Lining up: 

The college football schedule is a finicky beast. It can look one way heading into a season, then a team or two get hot just as you’re about to play them and the SOS becomes something entirely different. In 2022, TCU and Kansas State both had near-perfect schedules play out. TCU played a bunch of backup quarterbacks and Kansas State got Oklahoma State, Baylor, West Virginia, and Kansas all in the back half of their schedule after a few of those teams had already thrown their best shots.

If Texas Tech had played Kansas State in week 12 instead of early in the season, they might have been in the Big 12 Championship game in year one of Joey McGuire.

The Next Tyree Wilson: 

I don’t want to discount what Tyree Wilson was to the Red Raiders, but you didn’t really miss him down the stretch. Myles Cole looked like a beast in the Bowl Game and a transfer named Steve Linton could explode onto the Big 12 scene in 2023. Maybe it’s the team all improving in Wilson’s absence to replace his production, or maybe one of those two players dominates.

Regardless of how it’s done, if you’re in the Big 12 Tite hunt, you’ve replaced Wilson’s production.

I’m a bit nervous at the levels of hype this team is getting nationally, but that’s the Joey McGuire difference. A 7-5 regular season with a bowl win has national media members saying you could be a win or two away from a playoff berth in the final year of the 4-team playoff. If you do that same thing in 2024, you’ll be in the 12-team playoff.

Soak that in, then insert the Jim Mora, “Playoffs?!?” quote into your mind.


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