A Senseless Civil War

Tech got a huge win for the program this weekend, but there are still some fans not celebrating for dumb reasons.

What a shame some Texas Tech fans cannot fully enjoy the Red Raiders' Herculean upset of Oklahoma in Norman. One would think that knocking off a No.1 team in their house, stunning oddsmakers who pegged the Red Raiders a four-touchdown underdog, and snapping a 39-game home winning streak would be cause for unanimous, unbridled euphoria in Raiderland.

 

Alas, such is not quite the case.

 

There is a segment of Red Raider fandom that views all accomplishments by Tommy Tuberville's program with resentment at best, hostility at worst. Whenever the current regime achieves something of note, the rearguards belittle the achievement, and attempt to cast it as insignificant in comparison to glories of the recent past.

 

The reason for this bizarre behavior is actually quite transparent and straightforward. Specifically, the sect in question has transferred its loyalty from the Texas Tech football program to the man who coached it prior to Tuberville's arrival.

 

Furious that their idol was canned, the Mike Leach loyalists seek to exact their pound of flesh from the university in the one method available to them, and that is to withhold their support from Tuberville, no matter what he accomplishes. More than that actually, they seek to diminish Tuberville's accomplishments in comparison to those of Leach.

 

These people are like Japanese World War II soldiers who, abandoned on some remote South Pacific island and cut off from the outside world, fanatically attempted to continue the conflict when their rescuers arrived many years later. But the Leach loyalists don't have ignorance as an excuse.

 

The Texas Tech football "war" was between Leach and the Texas Tech administration, and it is completely over except for the lawsuits. Yet still the Leach loyalists wave the bloody shirt and the Jolly Roger. And they wish to ram Tuberville's program amidships.

 

This behavior is wrongheaded on several levels, but more important, it is logically incoherent.

 

Doing what they can to sabotage Tuberville might make a modicum of sense if Leach had been fired for incompetence and Tuberville had been brought onboard to elevate Red Raider football above Leachian levels. But this most certainly was not the case.

 

Leach was clearly a superior football coach. He took the reins of a mediocre, somewhat obscure football program, vaulted it to a No.2 ranking, and branded the Red Raider football identity on the consciousness of the American sporting world. It would have been an act of madness to fire Leach based upon his coaching record.

 

But that is not what happened. The Texas Tech administration fired Leach because he became an ungovernable, insubordinate megalomaniac who viewed himself as Napoleon rather than an employee of the university bound by certain codes of conduct, and answerable to a boss.

 

And it is for this reason that it makes no sense whatsoever to manufacture a competition between Tuberville's performance and Mike Leach's record and legacy as a coach.

 

I repeat--nobody involved in hiring Tuberville did so because they considered Tuberville a better coach who would take Tech to levels Leach couldn't. Everybody hoped Tuberville would boost the Red Raiders to a still higher plane, but that is not why he was hired. Tommy Tuberville was hired because he was the best available replacement for a supremely talented but insufferably truculent coach who simply had to be put down.

 

Those who insist in prosecuting a Quixotic campaign against Tommy Tuberville are hurting nobody but themselves. They have foregone the pleasures of rooting for the Red Raiders. And in their mule-headed, childish resentment, they failed to fully experience what was probably the biggest upset and the most staggering one-game accomplishment in Texas Tech football history. What a pity.


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