A 5-7 record and no bowl game is a disappointing finish for a Texas Tech team that at times showed promise. A review of the Red Raiders' 2016 season:
What went right: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II was the most prolific quarterback in college football again this season, upping his production from 393 total yards per game to 445 this season. He's an incredible talent who makes everyone around him better, and coach Kliff Kingsbury and his staff surrounded him with enough skill talent to compete with anybody. Texas Tech pulled off a couple nice wins this year, including a double overtime victory on the road against TCU and a blowout win over Baylor at AT&T Stadium. The Red Raiders gave Big 12 champ Oklahoma a major scare with an 854-yard day in a tight 66-59 loss. They came oh-so-close to beating Oklahoma State and Texas. On their best days, they could be very fun to watch.
What went wrong: The worst defense in the Big 12 got worse, at least statistically speaking. Texas Tech finished dead last in FBS in scoring and total defense and third-worst in points per drive and yards per play. Takeaways dropped from 25 to 13. The defensive performances against Arizona State (68 points), Oklahoma (66) and Iowa State (66) were horrifying, and two of those teams had losing season. The defense is still mostly relying on younger players who'll improve with time, but the 2016 campaign did not show a lot of progress. The defense isn't the only reason why Tech lost six of its nine Big 12 games, but it was a big reason.
Player of the year: Mahomes. He'd be in the Heisman Trophy conversation today had Tech won more games. Accounting for 5,337 total yards and 53 touchdowns with only 11 turnovers is a jaw-dropping feat. He was responsible for 78 percent of Texas Tech's offensive production this season. To put that number in perspective, Louisville's Lamar Jackson produced 73 percent of his team's yardage. And Mahomes did all that while playing through injury for most of the season. He put this team on his back.
Breakout player: WR Jonathan Giles. You knew whoever became Mahomes' go-to guy was going to put up monster numbers, and Giles became that dude as the Red Raiders' speedy "Y" slot receiver with 69 catches for 1,158 yards and 13 TDs. The sophomore averaged 17 yards per catch with 22 plays of 20-plus yards. Another sleeper pass-catcher who broke out was fellow sophomore Keke Coutee, who ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 in receiving during conference play.
Play of the year: From purely a playcalling standpoint, the double reverse flea flicker against Louisiana Tech takes the cake. The ball went from Mahomes to Giles to Cameron Batson to Mahomes to Giles, and that's a pretty phenomenal way to score a 42-yard touchdown. Honorable mention goes to Texas Tech freshman cornerback Douglas Coleman for his 100-yard fumble return for a TD against Texas.
2017 outlook: It's going to be called a hot-seat year for Kingsbury, who fully recognizes the importance of taking a big step forward in his fifth year as head coach. The Red Raiders need Mahomes back for his senior year in order to reach their ceiling. The offense returns pretty much everybody else. The defense is at least a year older and a year wiser in DC David Gibbs' system. There's more talent coming in with 10-12 mid-year signees on the way. As long as No. 5 is still behind center, there's no reason why Texas Tech can't be a lot better in 2017.