Conference-Only Schedules Are Bad News for Texas Tech Football
The Red Raiders have already been picked 9th in the Big 12 according to the Big 12 media, and the national media hasn't given them much more love than the conference. That means that Texas Tech will be projected to go 1-8 in the Big 12 in 2020, with their only win coming against the Kansas Jayhawks, who actually beat the Red Raiders last season.
At least in normal years, the Red Raiders could pad that conference record with a win over an FCS team and a low-level group of five team. This year, however, it's increasingly likely that the Big 12 will move to a conference-only schedule like their counterparts in the Big 10, Pac 12, ACC, and SEC have already done. (Editor's Note: After the publication of this story, the Big 12 actually did something like that.)
There are reports out that the Big 12 has whittled down the non-conference to just a single game, with the other nine games being conference games.
That would mean the Red Raiders will play UTEP, and then their nine conference games. Alabama State and Arizona have both already been removed from the schedule.
UTEP and Texas Tech are scheduled to play in week one on September 5th, with Texas Tech's conference schedule opening against Iowa State on September 26th. It might be that Texas Tech finds a new opponent they can play in The Jones instead of traveling and schedule it closer to the conference opener.
If the Big 12 does confirm that scheduling decision, I can almost guarantee the Red Raiders wouldn't finish 2-8, but the odds aren't much better if you look at the past decade. The Red Raiders haven't had a winning record in conference play since 2009 when some pirate was leading the ship. In 2010, the Red Raiders went 3-5.
In 2011, the Big 12 made the move to 10 teams with a round-robin schedule where everyone plays nine conference games and they decide one true champion. Since then, the Red Raiders have gone 2-7, 4-5, 4-5, 2-7, 4-5, 3-6, 3-6, 3-6, and 2-7. That's an average of 3-6 in conference play over nearly a decade of football.
If the Big 12 does decide to make 2020 conference-only, the Red Raiders will face an uphill climb to get their first winning record in conference play in more than a decade.