Matt Wells and Dana Holgorsen will always be attached in some way. To my knowledge, they've never coached against each other, but the Red Raiders and Holgorsen have plenty of history. I don't know that I need to recap Holgorsen's ties to the university in-depth, but he was on Mike Leach's staff in Lubbock, and has coached at Houston, Oklahoma State and West Virginia in various roles since.

Why does that tie directly to Wells? When Kliff Kingsbury was fired, there were strong rumors that Holgorsen wanted to return to Lubbock to take over the Texas Tech job. Instead, Texas Tech Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt hired Matt Wells and didn't even interview Holgorsen for the opening.

Holgorsen, who'd been wanting out of Morgantown for several seasons, went to Houston in the same offseason. Since the two entered their new roles, Wells has gone 8-14, while Holgorsen has gone 7-13. Both badly need to start with a win in 2021, but Wells has a whole lot more to lose than Holgorsen does.

Texas Tech should beat Houston in today's college football landscape. 'Should' being the keyword. Holgorsen doesn't think that will happen, though. He sent a message to the Houston students that "they go by Wreck ’em Tech. Nah. We're going to wreck Tech."

Holgorsen's Houston squad could be much improved in year three of his regime. When Holgorsen arrived, he punted the 2019 season to prepare for the 2020 campaign. Those plans blew up in his face after the COVID-19 season was so wild. The Cougars are led by returning quarterback Clayton Tune and a deep stable of running backs running behind a veteran offensive line.

On defense, the Cougars return most of their starters and should be a solid unit.

Here's the deal, though. The Red Raiders also have a solid stable of running backs. If SaRodorick Thompson is cleared to play, Texas Tech has the clear advantage. The offensive line? Texas Tech's big boys have started 99 career games at various colleges and stand an average of 6'5" tall and weigh an average of 312 pounds. They'll be able to move around the Houston defensive front. Will they be able to protect starting QB Tyler Shough? That's the question that this game rides on.

Defensively, Texas Tech returns 11 of their top 13 tacklers from last season and the best group of linebackers since Jordyn Brooks and Dakota Allen were manning the position, except the group is way deeper. Muddy Waters and Reggie Pearson have both earned starting jobs after transferring in from Duke and Wisconsin, respectively.

The similarities in the two rosters mean this game might be close at halftime, but Texas Tech will pull away in the second half. Vegas has the current line as Texas Tech -1.5. I'll lay the points and take Texas Tech to cover against the Houston Cougars.

I'll take the final score as 38-24 with Texas Tech comfortably winning the second half after a tense early battle.

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