With the 2019 Red Raider football season beginning sooner than it takes Alan Bowman to find his targets, there’s still enough time to discuss what the boys from West Texas will face this upcoming season.

A visit from Montana State on Aug. 31 will kick off the Matt Wells era at Texas Tech. Opening the season with a Football Champion Subdivision (FCS) opponent is exactly what Coach Wells needs for his first performance in Hub City. With a new offensive and defensive system, and multiple question marks surrounding the team, it will take the Red Raiders a few games to transition from Kliff Kingsbury’s schemes to those of Coach Wells.

With a FCS opponent, the Red Raiders will be able to ease into these schemes with confidence. Despite the Bobcats of Montana State going 8-5 last year, the talent disparity leaves them as a small threat to a Big 12 school. I expect the Tech defense to be exposed at times during the Saturday afternoon showdown as they adapt to new defensive coordinator Keith Patterson’s lineups. On the other hand, I expect Alan Bowman to have a monstrous game as the Tech offense torches this FCS defense. Prediction: Tech wins 59-17.

The second game of the season will feature a duel with another West Texas opponent. The Miners of UTEP went 1-11 last year under new head coach Dana Dimel, despite having the weakest strength of schedule of all FBS schools, according to sports-reference.com.

I expect the Miners to win more games this year, however, with the Red Raiders having their first taste of college football out of the way, a good chunk of the rust will be shaken off. This spells trouble for arguably the weakest opponent Tech will face this season. Prediction: Texas Tech is victorious 63-7.

Next on the Red Raiders’ schedule is an out-of-state showdown with the Wildcats of Arizona. This will be the first true test Matt Wells and the Red Raiders will face this season. I expect this game to show the team’s strengths and weaknesses as they battle the Wildcats, who had a disappointing season last year under Kevin Sumlin and his talented quarterback Kahlil Tate. The Wildcats are poised to breakout this season with multiple returning starters and a motivated senior quarterback and Tate running the offense. I expect this game will be quite the challenge for Coach Wells, especially with it being on the road. Prediction: Tech loses 37-27.

Starting off conference play is potentially the toughest opponent on the Red Raiders’ schedule in Lincoln Riley, Jaylen Hurts, and the national championship contender Oklahoma Sooners, who once again boast a multi-talented offense. To make matters even more challenging, this game will be played in Norman. With this being arguably Matt Wells toughest matchup in his career and with a new roster, I think the Red Raiders will leave the Sooner State on a two-game losing streak. Prediction: Tech falls 44-24.

Coach Wells and the boys will return home for their family weekend matchup. This game will be a refreshing one for Red Raider fans, as Tech will host a quality opponent at home, a combination the team will need come that day. I don’t think this will be another Montana State or UTEP, as the Cowboys are a dark horse contender in the Big 12, with talent on both sides of the field.

Despite that, Tech shouldn’t be intimidated, but rather motivated. With a home crowd hungry for a big win to put them on notice in the Big 12, the Red Raiders will play a well fought game that will prevent another loss for a third week in a row. Prediction: Tech wins 35-21.

At the midway point of the season, Tech will travel to Waco for a date with Baylor. Much like the Cowboys, the Bears are another dark horse contender in the Big 12. With star quarterback Charlie Brewer returning and Head Coach Matt Rhule showing great promise last year in Waco, this matchup will undoubtedly be a tough one for the Red Raiders.

I expect a close matchup with the bears, as Tech will be riding high after their huge win against Oklahoma State. Prediction: Tech comes out on top 28-25.

Halfway through the season, I predict we’ll see Red Raiders boasting a 4-2 record with an encouraging start to conference play, going 2-1 while defeating two tough opponents in Oklahoma State and Baylor.

Tech is just outside of the top 25 and Coach Wells is gaining a liking among the Tech community, as he’s beginning to establish a hard-working culture that values both ends of the field. The Red Raider family should be anxious to see what Coach Wells has in store for the 2019 Tech football season. I have strong confidence that he’ll make the most of his new job in the Big 12.

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