Viva’s Round Table Football Primer
The staff answers some big questions as we creep closer to the new season.
The staff, or most of it, is gathered here to answer some of the BIG questions for the upcoming football season. A season bringing more hype than any in recent memory. Here We GO!
Of the returning players, who is most likely to be the next superstar on the offensive and defense sides of the ball?
MM: Give me the big boy in the middle, Jaylon Hutchings on defense. He anchors an extremely stout defensive line as the immovable object. I suspect he will get his name into some serious conversations for a mid-round draft spot and beyond with this year.
On offense, IT IS BROOKS TIME. Look, the backfield is still a crowded and talented group. But Brooks is THE back this year, for the first time in his entire career. He can have a Deandre Washingtonesque season, solidifying his legacy at Tech in his final season.
ZM: Jerand Bradley led the team in receiving last year, but with just over 700 receiving yards, I don’t think he qualified as a “superstar.” This year, that will change. This is his third year in Lubbock and his athleticism, previously seen as mediocre coming out of high school, has improved drastically. He’s a much more explosive play yet still has that towering 6’5 frame that make him a magnet for red zone throws. He’ll top 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns before becoming an early-round pick in next year’s NFL draft.
Dadrion Taylor-Demerson may be the MVP of the defense this year. Wherever the ball is, DTD seems to be there. Tim DeRuyter likes to use him in a lot of different ways as we saw last year, and it’s not unreasonable to expect a four-or-five interception season with 10 or more pass break-ups and even a sack or two. Taylor-Demerson will be instrumental in determining the success of the defense this year, particularly in a league like the Big 12 with a surplus of gunslingers and explosive wideouts.
KP: I have to agree with Zach here on the offensive side of the ball. Bradley showed superstar potential in the last 2 games of the season. Against OU alone, he had 8 catches for 173 yards and a TD, and followed that up with an 8 catch 88 yard performance against Ole Miss in the Texas Bowl. Bradley has the size and skill to be a 1st round pick in the NFL, and this season he’s gonna prove it.
On the defensive side of the ball, I’m gonna go with Jaylon Hutchings. Is this considered a breakout? Probably not, but I do think Hutchings is gonna take another jump this year. Hutchings has seemingly improved every single year he’s been in the program. This year, after the loss of Tyree Wilson to the NFL, every single defensive lineman is gonna have to step up. I expect Hutchings to be an absolute monster in the run game, while also bringing consistent pressure in the pass game.
JB: I’m going to take the same route that KP did above and say Tyler Shough. I wouldn’t describe it as a breakout really at all. I mean the guy is on Heisman watch lists. But I think you see a different Tyler Shough IF and that’s a big IF, he can stay healthy. We all know about the injury problems, but I truly believe if Shough can start all 12 games this season, he will surprise some people.
On the defensive side of the ball it’s hard to root against Bryce Ramirez after last season. I think the kid will be back stronger, faster, and with a chip on his shoulder after that injury that caused him to miss a majority of last year. It’s a fantastic storyline and it is simply amazing we are even discussing him playing so soon after that injury. Go get ‘em Bryce!
RM: For the offensive side of the ball, I feel like we actually have a few different guys who could be in this category. But, my selection falls in the backfield with senior tailback Tahj Brooks. This guy has been a steady force from the moment he walked on campus as a true freshman. With SaRodorick now graduated, this is Brooks’ load to carry. Though he’ll have help from Valdez and others, I believe he will be a true bell cow and could be one of the Big 12’s best.
As for the defense, I feel there are some large shoes to fill at all three levels. I’ll roll the dice a little bit here and take OLB Steve Linton. Early reports seem to suggest he’s the real deal and should fit in nicely with the 1’s. In an aggressive defense such as DeRuyter’s, I wouldn’t be so surprised if he thrives in blitz packages behind Myles Cole and co.
CS: On the offensive side of the ball I’m going to go with Loic Fouonji as my breakout candidate. With a lot of attention being thrown Jerand Bradley’s way rightfully so, I see Fouonji being the guy on the opposite side taking advantage of his matchups and using his all-around skill set to make defenses pay. The receiving room is deep and has actual experience now that these guys have gotten reps and matured, so I will be anxious to see just what this offensive attack looks like.
On the defensive side of the ball, I’m going to be watching CJ Baskerville closely. Ever since he’s arrived to Tech he has put on some good weight and will be a force at that tweener defensive back/linebacker spot. He will be great in the passing game and will be big enough to take on blocks and affect the run as well.
Shough was named the starter already, did McGuire make the right call and even if so should we see Morton getting snaps in some regular capacity?
MM: Oh yeah, this was an easy call. Morton is talented and flashed a lot of the future upside that will let him dominate the new Big 12 after Shough departs, but two things to consider. First, all Shough does is win. Secondly. was there any doubt that the Ole Miss game was about the purest form of the offense we saw all year? With the offense seemingly poised for a step forward in the receiving group and along the line, don’t take the keys away from a proven winner. As for Morton’s role, I am a noted enemy of the two-qb system stuff we see Tech do at times. But I think a kid that talented has to see the field some, in a package or gadget role. With Tech’s horrific QB luck, I hope this season is the first in recent memory two quarterbacks make it healthy to the end.
ZM: Unquestionably the right call. This is the best roster Tech has fielded in a long time, and you want someone with veteran experience and decision-making behind center to ensure the team at least meets the expectations of a top-3 finish and a solid bowl win. Shough is also a really talented passer who has simply not had the chance to show what he can do over the course of a full season in his career. He’s 8-1 as a starter in a Tech uniform and there’s no reason to mess with that. Morton should only see time in blowouts or injury-related situations. Now is not the time to experiment, it’s time to contend for a conference championship.
KP: Shough when healthy has been the best proven option at QB. Tech just wins football games when Shough is out there. Like Zach said, 8-1 as a starter at Tech, why change it? Morton will see his time to shine in the future, but for this season, Shough is the guy. With the talent Tech has this season, you have to put your best foot forward so you’re giving yourself opportunities to win every single week.
JB: Going to follow suit with the fellas above. You can’t argue the record. I’m also a huge fan of the saying “good things come to those who wait.” Morton is no doubt the future of this program, the only undecided factor is when the future begins. If Shough fails to stay healthy, it may be sooner than you think.
RM: Tyler Shough is the obvious starter. Morton showed flashes of what he can do, but Shough was much better overall in terms of pocket awareness etc. throughout the course of a game. It’s hard to not give the nod to someone who has only lost 1 game as the starter. Shough is the present, Morton is the future.
CS: I pegged Shough as the starter in the offseason and seeing him announced as the starter as early as he was is a good thing so that the team can move forward. I have to give Morton credit for sticking around and waiting behind him to develop his game for the years to come where he will be the guy.
McGuire said he felt like this year’s D-Line might be even better despite the loss of Tyree Wilson. Is he high, or is he onto something?
MM: Depends on what you look at. On the sheer talent level, no one on the current roster rivals Wilson. His measurables and abilities are generational, and he will tear up the NFL. HOWEVA... this group is older, deeper, and all-around more balanced. Bradford and Hutichings anchor the middle in a way no one else in the conference comes close to. The staff are excited about the transfers coming in to supplement the pass rush on the edge. Are you actually more productive without a future NFL All-Pro on the edge? Probably not, but this line will lead the Big 12 and the drop-off won’t be as noticeable as the uninformed may believe.
ZM: Despite racking up 14 sacks over his last two seasons, Wilson was labeled as a “raw” talent heading into the NFL draft - a term usually reserved for players with athleticism but not much production to show for it. Could Wilson have been more productive in Lubbock had he benefited from better players next to him on the defensive line? Maybe there’s validity to McGuire’s take that the unit as a whole is stronger this year with Jaylon Hutchings and Tony Bradford hitting their peak, but he is also famously a master of hype and optimism who might just be building up his guys’ confidence heading into the season.
KP: I trust McGuire and his evaluation. Now from a talent standpoint, it seems Tech lost a big part of the D-line, but the experience is where I’m intrigued. Hutchings and Bradford leading the charge in the middle has me feeling very confident with this line. Time will tell if it’s better than last year, but I trust that if McGuire feels it has a chance to be better, there is a good chance they will be.
JB: I’ve been saying this for years, but I truly believe our dynamic duo up front are the two most underrated players in the Big 12. Jaylon Hutchings and Tony Bradford simply are Red Raider Football. They do the dirty work and they don’t mind the fact they are overlooked. They are the brand. It also helps that they are beasts. But, better without Tyree Wilson? It’s something I’m going to need to see to believe.
RM: McGuire has a point... to an extent. While we did lose an incredible playmaker in Tyree, our defensive line across the board is better than they were a year ago. I believe there’s a good chance we can run two full rotations on the line without skipping a beat. That’s been unheard of for a number of years in the Tech program.
CS: Tyree Wilson will definitely be missed, but having the solid interior and depth at the position will be huge for the guys trying to fill his shoes. I think the run defense will be as good as it’s ever been, and we can count on a few guys in the edge rotation to have an impact as well.
Last year Coach Kittley was coming in as a brilliant offensive mind, but an inexperienced play-caller. Now, he has some serious play-calling experience at this level to go along with that mind, and hopefully (knocks on fake wood) a healthy starting quarterback. What are you hoping to see from the offensive guru?
MM: Agree with me or not, I saw signs of inexperience a few times last year from the OC. Overall, he did a good job managing a bad quarterback situation (damn you football gods for the constant injuries) and the offense certainly improved. However, consistency and adjustments were issues at times. He had a bad habit of taking the ball out of the thriving ground game in favor of less effective calls, and he ran Shough far more than I believe is necessary to win games. Feeding Brooks to balance the ground game versus the passing game is a huge key this year for a reason.
What I want to see is what we saw at the end of the season against Oklahoma and Ole Miss, where I believe we saw Kittley call his best overall games. Granted, again, I am not a big fan of running a guy with Shough’s history around as much as Kittley chose to BUT when used right that is a devastating change of pace weapon. But what I really mean is, especially against those two teams, Tech had good gameplans going in and when things got taken away (see OU putting everything in to stop Thompson) Kittley adjusted well and managed the game leading to two season defining wins. He was coaching his best ball as the season ended, and he is driving a Porsche on offense now. I think this is going to be a lot of fun as the OC now has his battle scars at this level.
ZM: Feed the playmakers. I’d love to say “give Tahj Brooks 200 carries” because I believe he is one of the most talented and underrated running backs in the country, but that’s simply not going to happen in this offense, and it wouldn’t make sense when you look at the playmakers on the perimeter and behind center. The key, then, is to utilize each of those playmakers enough to force defenses to respect each one of them.
KP: I honestly just want to see a good balance between the run game and pass game. Theres obviously games where Tech will need to throw the ball 50+ times, but I also want to see Tahj Brooks used like he should be. Brooks is one of the most talented RBs in the conference, arguably the entire nation. It’s time to let people see that. Tech has always been right at home launching the ball, but it’s time to see a nice balance between the run and pass game. (Also plz don’t let Shough run so much this year, I know it works, but we need him as healthy as possible this season.)
JB: A lot of people were critical of Zach Kittley in a lot of games last season. I will admit I was one of those people. Hindsight is always 20/20 and its easy for me to pick apart a game and say something different should’ve been done to change an outcome of a game. However, I truly think Zach Kittley made huge strides last season at the P5 level and I think he keeps getting better. What the guys above said, I agree with wholeheartedly. Tahj Brooks deserves a ton of touches. Jerand Bradley does as well. I’d like to see the ball in the hands of Myles Price, Xavier White, Brady Boyd, and Loic Founji as much as possible. There is no shortage of playmakers on this team. Let’s use them.
RM: Give your playmakers the ball in open space and don’t stop feeding the ground game if it’s working. I feel like there were times a year ago where we stopped running the ball simply so we could keep mixing up the bag. I think you ride Brooks as much as you can, then air it out as needed. We’ve got talent at all 11 positions, so I think we’ll be able to have some fun regardless of who’s doing the producing.
CS: Every year you want to see some sort of improvement, and I think Kittley understands where he has to be better and what he can do to improve with this team. He has good diversity in his play calling, and I would like to see him lean towards being a pass-heavy offense. Obviously we have a great back in Tahj Brooks, but the depth at that position is young and we could take some pressure off of that by not being too predictable but also understanding where our strengths are.
Tech opens the year on the road with Wyoming, any chance this turns into a nasty trap game for the Red Raiders?
MM: From what we know of Wyoming, this is an underrated venue to travel to in terms of road environment and they are not the slouch some opening opponents have been in year’s past (excluding UH). But, no, Tech should comfortably beat this team. Wyoming is a run happy squad, and running against this Tech team is just a non-starter. I expect to see a motivated, disciplined Tech team roll on the road. It may not be a blow-out as the Cowboys are returning some guys they like, and are av overall upper tier Mountain West team, but Tech should not stumble. Close in the first half leads to a second half romp as Tech gears up for the game of the year in Lubbock.
ZM: Wyoming is no slouch and has produced some good players in recent years. On a side note, I would love to go to that game because I’ve heard they have a scenic stadium and crisp, fall “football” weather. At any rate, Wyoming returns a lot of production and should finish in the top-half of the Mountain West, but the Cowboys don’t have enough firepower to keep up with Tech offensively. This should be one of the more comfortable games on the schedule for the Red Raiders. And, as a mutual opponent with Texas, it’ll be interesting to compare how well each team plays against the Cowboys.
KP: Respectfully, if Tech has the expectations of competing for the Big 12 championship, this game should be a cakewalk. I know Wyoming had a solid year last season (7-6), but Tech should roll them. They play a style of football that feeds into what Tech is best against. They wanna try to run the ball down your throat, and that didn’t work for a lot of teams last season. I expect a blowout and will be pretty disappointed with anything else.
JB: It shouldn’t even be a conversation for a trap game. You’ve had quite literally the better part of eight months to prepare for Wyoming. I’ll echo what KP said above: If you want to be taken seriously not just in this conference but nationally, you take care of business.
RM: I see why some people are eyeing this as a trap game, and it very easily could be with Oregon coming to Lubbock 7 days afterwards. But, I would be shocked if Joey McGuire didn’t have his team ready to go in a season where a Big 12 title is obtainable. The Red Raiders may have trouble early, but there shouldn’t any reason we don’t win by 14+.
CS: Teams get upset all the time, but if Tech wants to be seen as the team that some say can win the Big12 then they need to handle this one with relative ease. We’ve had quite a few scares in recent years with lesser teams, and while Wyoming is a solid team we need to show that we are superior in every way.
How big is that Oregon game for the program? And can the Red Raiders score the, presumably, major upset?
MM: Really this is a trick question, which is why I asked it, because so much depends on Oregon. Are they actually being lead by Bo Nix to the top of the Pac 12(9), or are they a bust? For the sake of the argument, let’s say they are as good as advertised. Winning this game makes Tech a national title contender, don’t say I am crazy yet obviously there would be a lot more work to be done, with a top 10 win and the bona fides that scream only Texas is in the way. Lose this game close, and you show you’re comfortable in the Big 12 race but are short of the upper ranks of the football world. Only a blowout would truly mean a bad result, as getting clobbered with all this height would really hurt the program’s momentum. However, at home in a night game with a full house crowd driving the show give me Tech to get it done and announce their coming out to the Big 12 and the nation.
ZM: It’s big if Tech wins, it’s not if Tech loses. The Red Raiders are supposed to drop this one and they probably will. No big deal. I’m very high on Bo Nix and I think he’ll be the preeminent breakout quarterback of 2023. Oregon is loaded with talent at every position and I see them as a dark horse playoff contender. If Tech manages to pull off the upset, this becomes a very different conversation.
KP: Zach hit the nail right on the head with his answer. If Tech wins it’s absolutely huge, but if they lose, it’s not the end of the world. Oregon was right on the edge of breaking out last season and if it wasn’t for a couple slip ups, I think they potentially win the conference and are even knocking on the door of a playoff bid. Bo Nix is going to be a Heisman candidate, Oregon is going into 2023 with National Title aspirations, I’d love for Tech to end them early.
JB: Respectfully, I think this game is bigger than the two above me lead on. They are correct in saying that if Tech wins its a huge win. But I think if they get blown out, its a shot to the momentum this program has worked very hard to build up. Now if Tech loses by a score, I’d be fine with it. But it needs to be close to maintain that national recognition. I’ll say it again, If you truly want to be taken seriously as a program, you either need a win, or a close game throughout. I think Tech can do either.
RM: This needs to be a competitive game, whether we win or lose. It’ll be a nationally televised game with a lot of viewers. I think Shough will want to prove his worth to his former school, and I think Bo Nix will be as advertised. I think something else that weighs into this is conference expansion conversations. This could give Oregon a glimpse of what the Big 12 has to offer in terms of a road opponent if they’re eyeing a future move. If we win this, we’ll open a whole lot of eyes.
CS: The Red Raiders can (and will) defeat the Ducks. This game is huge for whether we want to just compete in the Big 12 or be a national threat.
Looking at the conference slate, who of the newcomers on tap is the most intimidating to play?
MM: No offense to our new enemies, but none of these teams should beat you. However, the obvious answer is UCF is likely the most talented and best prepared for this level. Don’t sleep on BYU though, on the road and against a program used to this level of competition will not be easy. But Tech is eyeing the top of the conference, and the newcomers are not there yet.
ZM: Tech shouldn’t feel threatened by any of the newcomers - at least, not for now - but taking on UCF in the penultimate game of the season and right before the last battle with Texas raises some caution flags for me. UCF brought in 18 transfers, so while the Knights might struggle to gel in the early going, Gus Malzahn could have his team in good shape in late November.
KP: I’m gonna catch some crap for this answer from some of my fellow staff writers, but I think it’s Houston. I know, Houston lost a lot of talent, but they also have one guy that would have every reason to want to beat us. Thats Donovan Smith. Smith had his ups and downs in Lubbock, but I have to imagine that if he gets the chance to face Tech in Lubbock with a chip on his shoulder, he’s gonna give us his best shot. His best shot is damn good, so Tech will need to be ready.
JB: Houston sucks. Plain and simple. So yeah Kendall is a bit off here. However, I agree with Zach in saying Tech really shouldn’t be intimidated by any of these squads. I think a better word would be excited. I for one am pumped to play BYU, and that’s pretty much where my list ends. BYU brings a lot of buzz to the Big 12, and I think they bring more attention to the conference.
RM: Although the metrics are anticipating a down year for them, BYU is always a tough out. The Cougars rarely lose in the trenches and they hardly ever get blown out, especially at home. This will be a tough road game for the Red Raiders and one they need to lookout for, but I’m sure McGuire will have them ready.
CS: UCF has the biggest chance of upsetting Tech. I love their quarterback and Gus Malzahn could have his team rolling heading into this matchup so this will be the one that I’m watching the closest of the newcomers.
Last chance for now to take on the Horns, potentially the last chance ever. Is Texas really back? And how confident are you that Tech closes the series with a win?
MM: On paper this is the best Texas team in a decade plus. However, on paper Texas is almost always the best in the league with maybe OU only ahead of them. And despite the overwhelming advantages, they have nothing to show for it. So I refuse to accept Texas is back until I see it, but to be clear it very well could be Texas looking for a title run of their own when the teams meet to close the season. The joy I will feel if they choke and we see a clown car of quarterbacks in and out (Arch Manning being the biggest future bust this league has ever seen whatever happens this year), and with Texas’ history it likely will happen.
But whatever happens, give me Tech to ruin their leaving to the SEC party. Call it karma, call it justice, call it divine intervention I just truly believe no matter what else happens this year Tech will ruin that night for Texas. Can’t wait to be there in person to watch it happen.
ZM: I have a lot more respect for Quinn Ewers as a football player than most and this year’s Longhorn wide receiver room is absolutely filthy. Texas will probably beat Alabama in Week 2 because the Tide still don’t know who the hell can play quarterback and they’re implementing an entirely new system under brand new and criminally overrated offensive coordinator Tommy Rees. This will elevate the “Texas is back” narrative at an entirely new level and while Texas will probably rack up double-digit victories this year, the Longhorn culture and the kind of football player it attracts prohibits the program from ever truly returning to early-2000s glory. Tech is certainly capable of winning this one, but it won’t be easy on the road.
KP: Listen, we can hate on UT as much as we want but at some point you have to sit down and face the reality. HELL NO Texas is not back. What, you thought I would say anything different? Texas isn’t back until the prove they are back. Do they have an insane amount of talent? Yes. Is their QB room stacked with some of the best prospects in the last decade? Yes. Am I impressed? Not until they actually do something on the field. Texas has always had talent. Until they use that talent to win games and make noise on the national level, they are not back. Now do I think Tech will beat them? They absolutely will have a shot. It’s the last week of the season on Black Friday in primetime. You know Joey will have the guys fired up, and a fired up Red Raider team can beat just about anyone.
JB: LOL. Texas back? Nah. Zach is right, he has a lot more respect for Ewers than I do that’s for sure. Hell, by the time we face them in Austin it could be Arch Manning’s squad, who knows? I do also agree with Zach in saying Tommy Rees is extremely overrated but that’s a conversation for a different day. The Red Raiders will have a target on their back if the season goes the way they want, and I, for one, am excited to have the last game between the two rivals actually have conference championship implications. I do think this game decides one of the participants, whether it be one team spoiling the others hopes and/or securing their own birth. If Texas isn’t in the Big 12 Championship picture at this point in the season, I would suggest Kirby Hocutt lock down McGuire before he gets fleeced in a Plainview McDonald’s for the second time in three years.
RM: Unfortunately, I think Texas MIGHT be back. While they still have a lot to prove to me, I don’t really believe anyone will be extraordinary in the conference this year. There are a handful of teams that will be solid, but none that I think can be CFP good other than UT. We will have to wait and see, but I won’t be shocked if they end up in a NY6 or better. Every part of me hopes that I’m wrong though.
CS: Texas isn’t back yet but this team is talented like every year. The question is whether or not the will put it all together, and I’m hoping that when this game comes along it has Big 12 title implications.
Call your shot, where does Tech finish in the conference hierarchy? What about the postseason, where do the Red Raiders end up?
MM: Fan is short for fanatic, and last year was the first season ever I did not see Tech being competitive. This year, with a stacked roster and elite coaching I have the Red Raiders taking the crown. Screw cautious optimism, screw a balanced and fair take. Give me the Red Raiders to go on the warpath, and sweep the slate to the Playoff. Can it happen? yes. Is it likely? Eh, of course not. But who cares, they are a very good football team and I won’t stop aiming for the stars until we see them fall flat.
ZM: I have Tech finishing at No. 5 in the conference. The league is particularly deep this year and there are too many toss-up games on the schedule for me to confidently place Tech in the top-3 or even winning the conference crown. Tech will play in a decent bowl and likely get the win because McGuire is going to keep everyone engaged and well-prepared and I don’t envision many Red Raiders skipping the bowl game.
KP: I think I can confidently put Tech at number 3 when going through the schedule. I think there's chances to finish higher and lower than that. Like Zach said, there's quite a few tossup games on the schedule. But specifically in conference play, you realistically shouldn’t have more than 3 losses. If you go undefeated in non-conference play, a 9-3 record should be more than enough to finish top 3 in the Big 12 this season. I see Tech in either a top tier secondary bowl game, such as the Alamo Bowl or Cheez-It Bowl, but I can also see them getting into a NY6 if they play to expectations. Should be an exciting season for sure.
JB: If Tech does as well as some think, a conference championship game berth could be a result. I’m a little less optimistic for that big of a jump. I think Alamo Bowl would be a fantastic end to year two of the McGuire era. I think Tech REALISTICALLY ends around 4th in the conference...and a TBD bowl game.
RM: If all things go well, I think Red Raiders have a great chance at a top 3 finish. I don’t want to completely chug the Kool-Aid and say we’ll make it to Arlington, but I think it’s doable if the cards fall our way. Tyler Shough MUST stay healthy and the defense needs to find ways to be more consistent for any legitimate post season aspirations. Do both of those things and you’ll probably find yourself in a Big 12 title play-in game in November against UT.
CS: I’m all in. This Texas tech squad is talented and has a guy at quarterback that has experience and will run this offense to a tee. I’m not going to say undefeated season but I wouldn’t be surprised if we were a one-loss Big12 champion.ShareOf the returning players, who is most likely to be the next superstar on the offensive and defense sides of the ball?Shough was named the starter already, did McGuire make the right call and even if so should we see Morton getting snaps in some regular capacity?McGuire said he felt like this year’s D-Line might be even better despite the loss of Tyree Wilson. Is he high, or is he onto something?Last year Coach Kittley was coming in as a brilliant offensive mind, but an inexperienced play-caller. Now, he has some serious play-calling experience at this level to go along with that mind, and hopefully (knocks on fake wood) a healthy starting quarterback. What are you hoping to see from the offensive guru?Tech opens the year on the road with Wyoming, any chance this turns into a nasty trap game for the Red Raiders?How big is that Oregon game for the program? And can the Red Raiders score the, presumably, major upset?Looking at the conference slate, who of the newcomers on tap is the most intimidating to play?Last chance for now to take on the Horns, potentially the last chance ever. Is Texas really back? And how confident are you that Tech closes the series with a win?Call your shot, where does Tech finish in the conference hierarchy? What about the postseason, where do the Red Raiders end up?