Texas Tech: More believers than anticipated

Texas Tech returns a moderate amount of talent from an eight-win team a year ago, but not since 2008's 10-0 start and No. 2 BCS ranking has Texas Tech been anything close to a Big 12 contender.

I see the Red Raiders being a good team next year with some upside in new coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Michael Brewer, but I don't know if I buy them as a real contender for the Big 12 title.

Apparently, 41 percent of you disagree. I was curious what the masses thought of the Red Raiders' title shot in 2013, and just 59 percent of you say Texas Tech is a Big 12 pretender.

I'm a little surprised that many people are on board with the Red Raiders, but it's definitely not a stretch to see Texas Tech making some serious noise in a wide-open Big 12 devoid of a true juggernaut or even a team with a talent level significantly above the rest in the Big 12.

Tech brings back 13 starters from last year's team, including eight on a defense that looked vastly improved from the unit that struggled so much in Tommy Tuberville's first two seasons. They'll be running a multiple scheme with a lot of 4-3 and 3-4 looks that play to Tech's strengths on defense, whatever those are in a defense that Kingsbury and defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt are still getting to know. We know pass-rushers Kerry Hyder and Dartwan Bush can play, but can the secondary look better than it did when Tech's defense struggled down the stretch?

Offensively, we know what Eric Ward and Jace Amaro are capable of, as well as running backs Kenny Williams and SaDale Foster, but Tech's entire offense boils down to whether Brewer is what the Red Raiders' staff and fans hope he is. If not, you can bet there won't be any talk of contending for a title in Lubbock this year.

If he is? Don't you dare rule it out.