The season started with promise, and ended early. Despite playing the Big 12's easiest nonconference schedule (Texas State, New Mexico, Nevada) and starting 4-0, Texas Tech endured a historically bad season. It had been 18 years since the last losing season in Lubbock, but Tommy Tuberville's Red Raiders (5-7) went through one in just his second year on the job.
Both sides of the ball struggled at times, but the biggest culprit was injuries. Leading rusher Eric Stephens was the first big loss, dislocating his knee in a loss to Texas A&M. The defense was riddled with injuries all year, bad enough that during the final few games, former receiver Cornelius Douglas was forced into a role as starting cornerback.
Despite a huge win over Oklahoma, one that ended the Sooners' 39-game home winning streak, this was a season to forget in Lubbock. After that game, the Red Raiders didn't win another game, and gave up 66 points in losses to both Oklahoma State and Baylor, sandwiched around a last-minute loss to Missouri.
Offensive MVP: Seth Doege, QB. Doege was on the money early in the season, and though he struggled at times, still put together a pretty good season. He set the NCAA record for single-game completion percentage against New Mexico, completing 40 of 44 passes and finished the season with, believe it or not, more passing yards than Baylor's Robert Griffin III. He completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 4,004 yards, 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Defensive MVP: Scott Smith, defensive end. You could maybe go with Terrance Bullitt or Cody Davis in this spot, but Smith, despite sitting out the first four games with a suspension, returned and had a huge impact. It's a bit ironic, considering Texas Tech was 1-7 once Smith returned, but he was a pass-rushing force. He finished with nine tackles for loss, only half of a TFL behind the team leader, Bullitt. He also had 5.5 sacks, 3.5 more than any other Tech defender. He forced three fumbles and made 37 tackles.
Turning point: You might think it's the Oklahoma win, but clearly, that's not the case. The 41-7 loss to Iowa State seemed shocking at the time, but it was clearly a sign of what was to come. That was a 5-2 Tech team losing to a 3-4 band of Cyclones, but Iowa State finished 6-6 and Tech finished 5-7. It was the first of three huge blowouts, and against Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma State, Doege threw two touchdown passes and three picks, including zero touchdowns against Iowa State and OSU.
What’s next: Time to reassess what went wrong this season and get healthy. Texas Tech wasn't a great team even before the injuries. They've got plenty to fix. The good news is a lot of top talent returns. Stephens isn't a 100 percent guarantee, but he should be back next fall. Darrin Moore finally got back to health late in the year, though Alex Torres should be back after tearing his ACL against Mizzou. Doege will return with his top three receivers (five of his top six, too) and his running back, and the defense returns its top six tacklers. The upside for this team is high next year.