Lone Star State rivals collide this weekend when the Texas Tech Red Raiders play host to their big brother, the no. 19 Texas Longhorns. Kickoff is set for 7:30 EST on Saturday, November 10, at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. The game will be nationally televised on Fox.
The week began with Texas Tech as a 1-point favorite at home. However, early betting in favor of the Longhorns has flipped the betting line, making Texas a 1-point road favorite. The over/under for the game is set at 64 points. Click here to see all of this week’s college football betting odds.
The Red Raiders are trying to recover from a tough loss last week against Oklahoma, going down at home 51-46. It was Texas Tech’s second straight loss after falling to Iowa State the previous week. To add injury to insult, the Red Raiders are once again without freshman sensation quarterback Alan Bowman. He missed the 2nd half of the Oklahoma game after suffering a recurrence of the partially-collapsed lung that caused him to miss time earlier this season.
Those two losses have also taken Texas Tech out of the running for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. As it stands, the Red Raiders are 3-3 in Big 12 play and 5-4 overall, meaning they still need one more win to become bowl eligible. With games against Kansas State and Baylor left on their schedule, Tech has a good chance to win their sixth game and lock up a bowl spot. However, the Red Raiders would love nothing more than to get that win against Texas.
The Longhorns, of course, are also coming off back-to-back losses. Losses the last two weeks to Oklahoma State and West Virginia have come by a combined four points. Nevertheless, they have caused Texas to tumble in the polls and say goodbye to any shot they may have had of earning a spot in the College Football Playoff.
More importantly, the Longhorns are now on the outside of the Big 12 title game equation. The Longhorns will need to win their three remaining games and hope for a little help in order to finish first or second in the conference standings and get invited to the championship game. Moreover, after Tom Herman’s team has made so much progress this season, they don’t want it all negated by a three-game losing streak late in the year, especially if it means losing to Texas Tech.
For the Longhorns, it’s already bad enough that the Red Raiders have beaten them in two of the last three seasons, including a 27-23 win for Tech in Austin last year. Of course, it’s been 10 years since the Red Raiders beat Texas on their home field and 20 years since they beat the Longhorns in back-to-back years. Needless to say, history would be made if Texas Tech can pull off the win on Saturday.
Both teams need this game badly. But there’s no getting around the fact that losing Bowman is a game changer for the Red Raiders. It’ll be too much for Texas Tech to overcome against a Longhorns team that’s still darn good despite a couple of losses. With this game basically being a PK, I’ll lean toward the Longhorns.
In fairness, Tech backup quarterback Jett Duffey has played well this season when he’s been called upon. He gave the Red Raiders a fighting chance against West Virginia when Bowman first got hurt and he did the same last week. Duffey also led them to a win over TCU, which is no small feat against such a quality defense.
The problem is that Duffey is more of a runner than a passer. He gives the Red Raiders a different dimension, but the Texas Tech offense needs a gunslinger in order to maximize productivity. Also, the Texas defense is probably better than the Oklahoma defense Duffey faced last week. The Longhorns will also have a full week to prepare for him. Remember that Texas Tech only scored 17 points when Duffey started against TCU. The Red Raiders should manage to score more than that, but they won’t light it up as they usually do.
Without Bowman, there will be a lot of pressure on the Texas Tech defense to make sure this game doesn’t turn into another shootout. But the Red Raiders just haven’t proven that they can stop good teams. If they couldn’t slow down the Iowa State offense a couple of weeks ago, I don’t think they’ll be able to stop Sam Ehlinger and the Texas offense. Ehlinger has completed 64% of his passes this season and hasn’t thrown an interception since the season opener against Maryland. A quarterback with that kind of efficiency and ball protection should have his way with the Texas Tech defense.
Again, if Bowman were healthy, this is a much different conversation. Bowman would have given Texas Tech a great chance to get the win. But the Red Raiders have a huge mountain to climb without him. I think Texas will win this game by a comfortable margin, so this is a heavy lean toward the Longhorns.