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Rock Chalk Mock: Texas Tech

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This week, the Mock is going 'guns up' on the Red Raiders.

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

[Introductory Note: I am the terror that flaps in the night... I am the substantial and inescapable penalty for early withdrawal ... I am the Occasional sTroll! And today, we will be examining the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents in a light-hearted but poignant manner. Yes, we admit that this series is based a parody of a weekly series from sister site Wide Right Natty Lite. No, we don't care. As the wise Turk once said: "Ah, you know I do what I do what I do what I do."]

Oh, Texas Tech. I hope you're enjoying your role as Big 12 basketball's new TCU. Unfortunately, I haven't had as much time to write this as I have with some of our other Mocks. And honestly, there are SOOOO many things that I -- as the sTroll -- could use in this Mock. Your questionable coaching history. Your lack of substantial success in any major revenue sport whilst in this conference. The fact that you're basically one of 40 universities in Texas, and nobody outside of WT bothers to remember you... Honestly, you guys are a bit like the red-headed stepchild of your own state and this conference. Hmm... maybe that's why you chose red as one of your school colors.

But, anyway, we will get to all of that more in-depth in a second. For now, here is a clever play on words segway to some delightfully comedic Fizzle art:

Your "Coaches"

Your current football coach Kliff Kingsbury ... oh my. That's a whole mess of crazy I'm not going to try to unravel. Just doing some Google image searches, I could tell this guy really missed his calling. Can you please relinquish him so he can pursue his dream to steal the heart of every woman who lays eyes on his pictures? We will even allow him to use cheesy Texas Tech-based pick up lines. Like so:

Your former quarterback turned underwear model turned "football coach" has worked out well enough for you, I suppose. But, this isn't football season any more. In Kansas, football season only exists from September till Late Night in the Phog (which is early to mid-October) and that's only during the years that our football team doesn't suck.

So, Tubby Smith, then. I think Tubby was a good coach back in the day, and obviously still has some of that knowledge and grit still rolling around in his subconscious. But, in all seriousness, I think he's losing it. He clearly hallucinates that he is a professional dancer all too frequently. And the sad thing is, no one is strong enough to confront him about his delusions. Please, Texas Tech. I'm begging you to relinquish both of your coaches. Send the one out into the world, to share his beautiful features with cameras everywhere. And place the other one in a hospital. Or a home of some sort where he can live out the rest of his delusional dancing dreams in peace. And, for the love of all that is holy, do not let him ride any more motorcycles.

I know it will be a struggle for you to let go of these two championship-caliber coaches. Actually, it won't be. But, I feel confident that, with your reputation for athletic success, you will find someone to take their places. Yeah, just someone. No need for two coaches. Just one will do, I think. Don't want to pay two people to be middle or low-end of the Big 12 pack in their respective sports. Maybe Bob Knight would like to try his hand at coaching football?

Your Fans

When members of your own fanbase have to make a PSA for their fellow fans to improve their behavior during sporting events, you know you done effed up:

And only at Texas Tech do fans get singled out for their inflammatory and controversial behavior during sporting events by their own school, opposing teams, and the national media. And only at Texas Tech do fans apologize and voluntarily ban themselves from sporting events following such behavior and public attention.

If I'm going to call out Marcus Smart for his attitude and behavior during that incident (as I did in last week's Mock against OSU), then I have to do the same for Jeff Orr.

I have this theory that when people are put together -- whether willingly or not -- in an uninhabitable or hostile environment, they have to focus on the things that band them together to stop them from ripping each other apart. That's why in shows like The Walking Dead and Lost, the leader / the "voice of reason" always has to step in between to fighting individuals or factions, and remind them that "We're All In This Together... Generic reminder that the real bad guys (walkers / zombies, Charles Widmore, "The Others") are out there, and if we are fighting among ourselves, that's just want they want / it will be easier for them to attack, destroy, kill us. Just remember, we are all bonded forever because we are the only survivors of a zombie apocalypse / plane crash on a very Hawaii-esque looking island."

I think that this is why Texas Tech fans are so passionate. There's really not much else for you to do in Lubbock or West Texas, is there? If you're not drilling for oil, complaining about the drought, or ragging on one of the other (and better) 40-some universities in your state, then you're probably rooting for the Texas Tech Red Raiders at whatever sporting event is in that time of year. You guys are like the college version of that Midwestern small town that has nothing else going for it except a sometimes-decent-sometimes-not football team that everyone gets suuuuuper passionate about, even if they don't know any of the players, coaches, etc. "Because this is our town, and we root for our kids, gosh darn it! I don't care if they suck or if one of the players killed that guy who tried to assault the player's soon-to-be-kinda-girlfriend. They're our team and we support them, because there is literally nothing else to occupy our time in this small, godforsaken town!"

I suppose I have to commend you for your passion psych, no I don't even if I feel it is a bit misplaced. But, I think there is a point in which fandom has crossed the line. When you're substituting expletives into your school's fight song, or becoming well known for your unsportsmanlike conduct towards opposing players and teams... that's something you gotta work on Tech. Please. Texas fans at least have stuff to be proud of. TT is just a "sometimes middle of the road" program whose fans act like they win the national championship in every sport every flipping year. And now that Mizzou has left the conference, there's no need for that in the Big 12 anymore.

Raider Red

According to your school's Wikipedia page:

Around the 1971 football season, the Southwest Conference created a rule forbidding the bringing of live animal mascots to away games unless the host school allowed it. Since the Masked Rider's horse might be prohibited from traveling to some games under this rule, an alternate mascot named Raider Red was created; Raider Red is a person wearing a normal mascot costume.

Granted, I realize this is no one's fault in particular, but that has to be the lamest origin story for a mascot ever. I mean, Kansas' "secondary" mascot Baby Jay hatched out of a freaking egg on the Memorial Stadium field during halftime. That had to have been a memorable entrance. Plus the whole thing was developed by a student and kept shrouded in secret until the big moment.

But, meh. Your dude just showed up in a cartooney "cowboy" outfit during away games because live animals weren't allowed. That is incredibly underwhelming compared to your other mascot, the Masked Rider. (More on him/her in a second.) Side note: I also like how in the top picture it looks like he's picking his nose. You might want to educate your mascot on proper gun safety, there, tt.

I have two issues with Raider Red. While the ensemble is very memorable (in a bad way, though) and endearing to your fanbase's younger generation (I'm guessing -- it looks a bit much from where I'm sitting)... the whole "guns up" + Raiders thing... when incarnate in a mascot like this...

Let's work this from the beginning. Okay, Raiders. Very intimidating, albeit a very violent mascot. You might as well call yourselves the Texas Tech Thieves. The Texas Tech Pillagers. I have it on very good authority that the mascot was originally going to be the The Texas Tech "Dudes Who Will Run Into Your Town, Take Whatever Or Whomever They Want, And Then Probably Set It On Fire Or Kill Some People Before They Leave" Raiders. But, granted, that is a bit long, so you just had to shorten it to Raiders. (I think this for all criminal-based mascots -- looking at you, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders!)

Why do schools or franchises always seem to think think intimidating = deadly? I mean, deadly things are intimidating (bears, cyclones), but that doesn't mean I would necessarily want to be associated with it. (Then again, I do participate in a fanbase named for people who violently fought against slavery... So, there's that.)

My problem with this is the whole guns/raiding thing. I am not opposed to gun use, and I'm not going to pick a fight on that issue politically with a bunch of gun-toting Texans. However, I will say that using guns and being named Raiders is probably not a good association for your younger fans to be around. Gun violence is a deadly issue. Raiding is a violent and sometimes deadly issue as well. Do you see where I'm going with this?

How do you explain to your children, for instance, that Raider Red's guns are toys, and real guns are not to be double-fisted and waved around at sporting events? How are you going to explain to them -- when they're old enough to have "The Talk" -- that raiding is actually a very violent criminal act that happened frequently in the Old West, but also still happens in other countries (and sometimes our own) around the world today?

My second issue with Raider Red -- I'm sure you've heard this before, but it bears repeating -- is this:

I'm honestly surprised the Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes representatives haven't sued you for copyright infringement.

The Masked Rider

And, of course, here's the part where I take your historic mascot and rip its whole identity a new one, right? Well. Actually, no.

I'm pretty cool with the Masked Rider. In fact, I would probably describe myself as a proponent of it as a memorable, unique, culturally relevant and impressive mascot. [Disclaimer: these opinions on The Masked Rider, as written by the sTroll, are probably not held by much of the RCT community in general.]

I was there at the 2006 Cotton Bowl when Texas Tech played Alabama (and lost 13-10. #smallestviolin). I don't remember much from that experience (because I was too H!gh on L!fe), but I do distinctly remember seeing the Masked Rider. Okay, so what if he/she looks like the white version of Zorro's West Texas stepbrother/sister? Watching the Rider lead the team onto the field was flipping cool. Admittedly, slightly (only slightly) cooler than watching Big Jay and Baby Jay run around James Naismith Court while counting down to tip off.

For all of my disapproval of raiding and Raider Red possibly promoting gun violence ... I legitimately think the Masked Rider is the coolest physical mascot in the Big 12. And I also applaud you for allowing women to ride as a raider. Just because your mascot is a violent criminal, doesn't mean it can't also be a violent female criminal.

Yet, despite all of its coolness, the Masked Rider (horse + rider) is no stranger to unfortunate incidents. Some were caused by other fan bases who -- for some effed up reason -- think animal cruelty is cool. *cough, Texas, cough* But, others could have been avoided by the TT folks involved, and even resulted in some tragic animal deaths. Specifically:

  • On September 3, 1994, an accident involving the Masked Rider resulted in the death of Texas Tech's animal mascot, a black American Quarter Horse named Double T during a Lubbock football game between Texas Tech and the New Mexico Lobos. After a 3rd quarter score by Tech, then Masked Rider, Amy Smart, fell from the horse after the horse's saddle broke during the customary post-score gallop around the stadium field, and the horse eventually ran unaccompanied towards the exit tunnel where it accidentally collided with the stadium wall dying instantly.
  • In 2001, the Masked Rider horse trailer was involved in a car accident. The horse, Black Phantom Raider, sustained serious injuries and had to be euthanized.

This isn't including when the rider's horse injured an opposing team's cheerleader, or when it separately injured a referee. Horses are big, and sometimes uncontrollable and dangerous animals. Unfortunately, there is a reason why equinophobia is a real thing. I'm certainly not one to say horse mascots in general, or The Masked Rider specifically, should be banned or retired, but there has to be a suitable solution to this violence- and crime-mongering and live animal-related accidents.

I propose this as an alternative:

So, cheers to the Texas Tech Snowmen! You do nothing by halves, so why shouldn't your mascot be the same? Who knows? Maybe you're just crazy enough to listen.