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Big 12 Football Countdown: No. 7 Texas Tech

Big 12 Football Countdown: No. 7 Texas Tech

Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE

Texas Tech football just hasn't been the same without Mike Leach. Tommy Tuberville was a poor replacement for Leach despite going to two bowl games in three seasons. Tuberville was never able to truly regain football relevance during his short time in Lubbock, at least not to the level that Leach had achieved. Texas Tech may be looking at their second losing season in three years as they look to replace their hot shot quarterback Seth Doege. On the bright side Tech was quick to replace their quarterback with another Texas Tech quarterback, only this one will be roaming the sideline instead stepping onto the field. Kliff Kingsbury left Texas A&M to coach for his alma mater, though he may find success initially difficult as he inherits an offense with many holes and a defense that gave up close to 32 points a game. Kingsbury must also find a permanent play caller on the field, one that won't have the luxury of throwing to 1,000 yard receiver Darrin Moore. Texas Tech's place in the rankings is at seven, although many fans in the community believe that ranking to be a little optimistic.

2012 Record: 8-5 (4-5)

Returning Starters: 15 (5 OFF, 8 DEF, 2 ST)

Key Losses on Offense: QB Seth Doege (4205 yds. 39 TD), WR Darrin Moore (1032 yds. 13 TD), OL La'Adrian Waddle, RB Eric Stephens Jr. (480 yds. 5 TD)

Key Losses on Defense: S Cody Davis, S D.J. Johnson Head Coach: Kliff Kingsbury: 0-0 (1st Year)

Strength: Offensive Weapons

The Red Raiders were never short on offensive production last season, in fact they boasted the nation's 2nd best passing attack, but with the departure of QB Seth Doege (4205 yds. 39 TD) and WR Darrin Moore (1032 yds. 13 TD), Texas Tech could see the passing game regress. Luckily for Texas Tech a lot of what made up that passing game comes back including top WR Eric Ward (1053 yds. 12 TD), Jace Amaro (409 yds. 4 TD), Jakeem Grant (284 yds. 3 TD) plus three more 150 yard plus receivers. The Red Raiders ground game should also be more than adequate as top RB Kenny Williams (824 yds. 5 TD) and RB SaDale Foster (541 yds. 3 TD) return.

Weakness/Questions: Quarterback and Coach

Since Texas Tech hired Mike Leach in 2000, the Red Raiders have made their mark with the “Air Raid Offense”, even Tuberville did a decent job of mimicking Leach's offense. Tech has almost all the pieces to replicate that great passing game they had a year ago, minus the most important piece: the quarterback. QB Michael Brewer (375 yds. 4 TD) is projected start but is unproven at this point. To put even more pressure on Brewer, he will have just two starters returning to an offensive line that gave up 19 sacks. Luckily for Brewer he will be working with the man who molded Heisman candidate Case Keenum and Johnny Football in Kliff Kingsbury. Unfortunately what Kingsbury doesn't have experience with is coaching a defense, and the two teams he coached under (Houston and Texas A&M) didn't have a great defense, so he probably didn't learn much. Of course in the Big 12, defense has been optional at times and eight returning starters should sustain Texas Tech for a while.

Projected Record: 6-6 (3-6)

Bowl Game: Texas Bowl