Since the firing of The Pirate nearly five years ago, Texas Tech and the University of Tulsa football programs have essentially become synonymous with futility. As peers in hopeless impotence, they should swap conferences for a number of reasons; five of which are outlined below. This may sound like an overly sensational lede, but let's get weird for a moment and consider the relative merits each program contributes - or might contribute to a fictional Big 12.
Perhaps surprisingly, Tulsa and Texas Tech share many similarities. Both programs have been steadily trending downward in wins and conference prestige. Both harbor an Oklahoma State inferiority complex. Both programs load the schedule with the likes of New Mexico, Rice, and SMU, and both colleges are (at least) the third choice in their respective states. Even "Huffy", Tulsa's mascot, has more in common with the plains of Lubbock than most realize:
By simply adding dust, the Golden Swirly magically transforms to represent Lubbock. "Dirty"1, as I call the new creation, perfectly captures the essence of Lubbock and all things Texas Tech.
Given these similarities, here are five reasons the University of Tulsa should replace Texas Tech in the Big 12:
- Lubbock. Easily the top of this list, Lubbock is a miserable, detestable blight on an otherwise perfect desert. CRFF's own King – not prone to understatement – was fairly charitable in his description during a visit in 2011. Not only is Lubbock the most boring city in America, it is 125 miles to the closest less-boring (if only slightly) city of Amarillo. Contrast with Tulsa's proximity to Oklahoma City and Stillwater. Who in Oklahoma wouldn't wish for an extra driving-distance game each year? Given Tulsa's diminutive national footprint, a 2:1 home and away deal might even be possible with both OSU and OU. Forget Thursday games. Lubbock for Tulsa? What's not to like?
- Competition. In terms of competitiveness, both schools are closer than you might expect. In the last ten meetings, OSU is 8-2 vs. Tulsa, and 7-3 vs. Texas Tech. Interestingly, OSU has outscored TTU by 116 points in last three games (new signs in the locker room, please), while (only) beating Tulsa by 80. During the same period, OSU's offense scored 177 points against Texas Tech and (only) 162 against Tulsa's defense. Because the two teams are essentially a wash in terms of wins and style points, a conference swap poses no change to the status quo.
- Fandom. Texas Tech fans consistently rank as the worst fans in the Big 12 and indeed, in all of college football. Although The Pirate's departure has neutered the most rabid expressions of lunacy, the Techtards are never more than one new coach and 3-4 non-conference wins away from delusions of grandeur. The best tip for visiting Jones stadium? Don't. In comparison, Tulsa's fans are only mildly annoying - and there are blessedly fewer of them as Tulsa boasts the smallest undergraduate enrollment in all of the FBS.
- Schedule. The tortilla tossers need to take this next point under serious consideration. By switching to Conference USA, Texas Tech could finally be the
bigmedium-size fish in a small pond. Coach Bro could opt to either A. keep the same non-conference foes (thereby beating up on some teams twice a year!), or B., down-shift to a full slate of FCS opponents. Options! Win, win! This year's 4-8 outlook might easily translate into an undefeated 2015.
- Academics. There's an adage in Big 12-country deserving repetition: "There are three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and an acceptance letter to Texas Tech." Surely, someone in academia will find this important: US News and World Report ranks Tulsa 88th in the country while Texas Tech is ranked #156. If you think an upgrade of the conference's academic standing might possibly be on Bob Bowlsby's "To Do" list, look no further than OSU-East.
Assuming for a moment the rest of the league was on board with the idea, I really would miss this guy.
And the Ginger Kid:
To say nothing of the infamous bell boy or uber-basketball fan who introduced himself to Marcus Smart (see #3 above). But now that Oklahoma State has copied and improved every worthwhile Texas Tech "innovation", it's time to discard the empty husk that is their football program in favor of a more Oklahoma-centric league. Let the the Blue Raiders establish a new rivalry with the Red Raiders while Oklahoma and Oklahoma State benefit from an additional "home" game each year.
1 Download a "Dirty" picture to send to the TTU fan in your life #getdirty