Optimism abounds with the Texas Tech season less than two weeks away and for good reason, but what are some of the concerns heading into the 2015 campaign?
RaiderPower.com has singled out three primary reasons to consider the flip side of the standard Kool-Aid fueled argument.
Texas Tech doesn't get a bye until mid-November. Regardless of the reasons behind the 11-game stretch without a break, this would not be considered optimal for any program in the country.
A three-game gauntlet consisting of a trip to Fayetteville against Arkansas, followed by a home game against what figures to be a Top 5 TCU squad and then a neutral-site matchup with perhaps another national contender in Baylor could be argued as one of the most difficult stretches for anyone in college football.
After back-to-back games against perennial cellar dwellers Iowa State and Kansas, Tech's schedule picks up again with consecutive conference clashes beginning with a trip to Norman to take on Oklahoma, before hosting Oklahoma State the following week on Halloween. The Red Raiders then head east to play West Virginia in Morgantown and then return home to the Jones for Kansas State on Nov. 14.
Finally, Tech gets an off week before closing out the regular season against Texas on Thanksgiving in Austin, where the Red Raiders haven't won since 1997.
Texas Tech's defense was historically bad in several categories last season. Every Tech fan is painfully aware of that.
Enter accomplished defensive coordinator David Gibbs, a coach's son and football lifer, who has spent over 20 years in the industry, including successful stints leading defenses in the Big Ten, SEC and most recently at Houston.
The expectation is for the Red Raiders to improve at least some if not significantly, but to not be at least a little concerned until they prove it would be nothing but a blind leap.
The 2014 season featured one drama after another both on and off the field from bizarre sideline penalties which almost cost Tech wins, to the defensive coordinator being forced out after three games, to the signal stealing controversy and on and on.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury and the staff have taken steps to close ranks during the offseason and apply a more business like persona. Essentially, less talk, more hard work. Those are good signs, but if the Red Raiders struggle early and the circus returns it's easy to see how the season could spiral out of control.