The Morning Stake | 2023.11.27

I finally get a bit of a chance to breathe a little, the men’s basketball team doesn’t play until Thursday so I have a few days to recoup. Holiday tournaments are always tough because it usually means games back-to-back. Stack a football game on top of it, a stinker of a game to boot, and this was the first week this year that the football game wasn’t even fun to consider what really happened.

The Lady Raiders were in Vegas for the holiday and came home with three more wins, beating Rutgers 79-72 on Friday and then defeated Santa Clara 61-56 on Saturday. Bailey Maupin is her if you did not know and these ladies are 7-0 thus far, maybe not the toughest schedule, but a win is a win. They will lace them up again on Wednesday as they host UC Irvine at 6:00 p.m.

With Texas Tech’s win over Michigan, I was curious about where Texas Tech was after the Northern Iowa win, which was 58th in KenPom and 50th in T-Rank. T-Ranks adjusted offense and defense was 110th and 19th overall. With that one win, Texas Tech sits 42nd in T-Rank and 89th in Adjusted offense and 11th in adjusted defense. That’s a pretty decent sized jump and although the 3-point shooting and shots blocked aren’t quite right, the turnover percentage has adjusted quite a bit. If you are curious, T-Rank has Texas Tech as a #10 seed. I did check ESPN and CBS, and they had not updated their bracketology in a while.

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams answers questions, including if Zach Kittley will be fired before or after the bowl game. Obviously, I don’t think he will be fired at all. That’s not to say that everything is perfect, but I don’t think that happens and neither does Don. He’s also asked is why the offense hasn’t come together this year:

Other than Tahj Brooks’s performance, every aspect has fallen short of expectations. Joey McGuire said during the offseason he had two NFL quarterbacks in Tyler Shough and Behren Morton. Neither performed to that level, and Shough injury lowered the team’s ceiling. The offensive line has been ordinary.

The biggest disappointment, though, and the reason the offense went off the rails, is the receivers group regressed, compared to past performance, for no apparent reason. The regular season’s over, and none of those guys has reached 500 yards. Xavier White, at 495, probably gets there in a bowl, but 1999 was the last season Tech didn’t have a 500-yard receiver.

To know more about why it’s not come together, you’d have to be inside the football building and have those directly involved give an unvarnished assessment of what’s gone wrong. The people involved seldom do that until long after the fact, if ever.

The teams on which Chip Kelly, Graham Harrell, Jeff Grimes and Phil Longo are coaching averaged fewer points this season than Zach Kittley’s. Kelly’s head coach at UCLA, Harrell, Grimes and Longo offensive coordinators at Purdue, Baylor and Wisconsin, respectively.

I think that McGuire is pretty reflective when it comes to teams and my guess is that this is the offense he wanted, not calling each and every play, but generally speaking. I think he knows that he has to be a bit more dynamic, but like a lot of you, when you have a running back like Tahj Brooks, you need to utilize him. The problem is that there’s a lot, and I mean a lot, of skill position players, that need to be touching the ball and that didn’t happen this year.

If you are into bowl projections, then buckle up. CBS Sports, 24/7 Sports, FOX Sports, and Athlon Sports have the following bowl predictions.

CBS Sports: Texas Tech vs. California, Independence Bowl in Shreveport, LA
24/7 Sports: Texas Tech vs. Troy, Independence Bowl in Shreveport, LA
FOX Sports: Texas Tech vs. Georgia Southern, First Responder in Dallas, TX
Athlon Sports: Air Force vs. Texas Tech, Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, TX

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