After General Grant's shameful dereliction of duty, allow me to proudly welcome you back to SHERMAN'S MARCH TO THE SEA, where I, General William Tecumseh Sherman, shall take arms against all who would dare to stand against the Big Ten Conference, the chosen conference of tradition, freedom, America and God.
Since leaving San Diego, I have traversed the deserts of the Southwestern United States, from the stench of Tucson to the shifty characters of El Paso. Now, my travels have brought me to another lovely Southwestern locale infamous for its foul odor: Lubbock, Texas.
THE ONLY WAY I CAN JUSTIFY THE FOUNDING OF THIS CITY IS THAT A LOT OF FOLKS DESPERATE TO LEAVE THE DEEP SOUTH BUT TOO STUBBORN TO COME TO THE MIDWEST RAN INTO THE EXACT SAME WAGON TROUBLE IN THE EXACT SAME SPOT. Assuming that's true and then some lucky and persistent entrepreneurs found oil in that barren wasteland, it is now 2016, the West Texas oil industry is in a downturn, the Reese Air Force Base is closed and yet NEARLY A QUARTER OF A MILLION PEOPLE STILL LIVE IN THIS VAST EXPANSE OF DESERT, WHERE ON A CLEAR DAY WITHOUT A MASSIVE DUST STORM, YOU COULD WATCH YOUR DOG RUN AWAY FOR THREE DAYS.
Described as "the closest thing to Syria without actually being in Syria," Lubbock did manage to produce Buddy Holly. However, it cancelled him out by producing the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, a country-pop band very proud of their bible-thumping Texas roots. After pissing off their entire fanbase by dissing then-president George W. Bush, they went on to release the song "Lubbock or Leave It." AS LUBBOCK IS A DRY TOWN, THIS IS AN EASY DECISION. In this tune, they compare the hate they've received to how much people hated Buddy Holly. NOBODY HATED BUDDY HOLLY! IN FACT, HE PROBABLY HATES YOU FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!
So anyway. Football. The Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Texas Tech claims eleven conference championships and one division title. NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THESE IS WITHOUT AN ASTERISK OF SOME KIND. Nine were won in the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association against such competition as New Mexico, New Mexico State, West Texas A&M, UTEP and something called Hardin-Simmons.
MOVING ON, let us examine the two Southwest Conference championships Texas Tech claims. For virtually its entire history, Texas Tech has managed between 5 and 7 losses per year. But for one glorious year they did indeed go 10-2 and 7-1 in conference play. HOWEVER, this was a shared championship with Houston, to whom Tech lost and who would finish the season nine spots ahead of Tech in the AP Poll.
The 1994 Southwest Conference championship was apparently split several ways among teams with a 4-3 conference record. This was only possible because 10-0-1 Texas A&M was ineligible due to sanctions. CONGRATULATIONS ON SPLITTING A CONFERENCE TITLE FIVE WAYS WITH TEXAS, TCU, BAYLOR AND RICE. I GENERALLY ORDER ROSES ON THE SIDE OF MY CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS. I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW YOU COULD ORDER RICE.
So, this leaves the 2008 Big 12 South division title. After a long history of hovering between 5 and 7 losses, Texas Tech hired noted air pirate Mike Leach in 2000. He set up an exciting offensive team and was determined to win no matter what anyone's fat little girlfriends had to say about it. Leach didn't have a single losing season, which is even more impressive considering that City Ordinance 225 was in place for his first six seasons.
In 2006 (ONLY TEN YEARS AGO), Lubbock repealed this ordinance and in 2008, a late touchdown by Michael Crabtree lifted the undefeated Red Raiders over the #1 Texas Longhorns. This touchdown is THE defining moment in Texas Tech football lore, and upon dispatching the #8 Oklahoma State Cowboys, they took their #2 ranking on the road to face the #5 Oklahoma Sooners in Norman. This was the moment Texas Tech would prove they had ascended to the ranks of the big boys, where they would lock up the Big 12 South on their way to the BCS National Championship game. After over 80 years without mattering, this was Texas Tech's day in the sun!
Then the game started. It ended shortly afterwards in a 65-21 blowout. Texas Tech would be awarded a share of the Big 12 South title, but Oklahoma would play in the Big 12 title game and later the BCS National Title game due to a higher BCS ranking and also the fact that they had some semblance of a defense and a complete team instead of a flash in the pan.
So surely Mike Leach could build this program into a contender, right? In 2009, they went 9-4 and finished in the top 25, but how many of those plays from 2008 were they able to dial up? "Not a fucking one!" That same year, Texas Tech didn't bother to investigate hard enough to clear the name of the greatest coach they have ever or will ever have had when Craig James' kid, bitter at Leach over lack of playing time, reported a story about concussions and mistreatment that nobody's ever really proven occurred. Tech fired Leach and that was the last time anyone cared about them.
Enter Tommy Tuberville. The T6 era (Trollin' Tommy Tuberville's Texas Tech Team) lasted only three years, as he was so desperate to leave Lubbock (guess which option he chose, Dixie Chicks?) that he left recruits in the middle of dinner to take the Cincinnati Bearcats job. YOU GOT DITCHED FOR CINCINNATI. THEY'RE NOT EVEN IN A MAJOR CONFERENCE.
So 2013 was the start of a new era. Kliff Kingsbury, a man who somehow looks like an even bigger douchebag than his name would lead you to believe, is now the coach and has upheld the old Texas Tech tradition of losing at least five games a year. At 19-19, he's managed to lose at least five all three years at the helm. His main claims to fame are having completed exactly one NFL pass in two attempts, being the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M in 2012 (coming up with such exotic schemes as "hey Manziel, make a play happen") and being young. Despite his inexperience and lackluster record, Texas Tech fans feel this way about him:
THIS IS ACTUALLY A THING AT TEXAS TECH, BY THE WAY.
TEXAS TECH, YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE AT GREATNESS AND YOU THREW IT AWAY BY FIRING MIKE LEACH. PUT ALL THE OBNOXIOUS TRIM YOU WANT ON YOUR UNIFORMS, HIRE LEGENDARY BASKETBALL COACHES FROM MY GREAT CONFERENCE, RING ALL THE BELLS YOU CAN, IT WON'T MATTER. YOU WILL NEVER AGAIN COME CLOSE TO THE PRECIPICE OF GLORY YOU APPROACHED IN 2008, AND THE ONLY REASON ANYONE WILL EVER CARE ABOUT YOU AGAIN IS BECAUSE THEY THINK YOUR COACH IS RYAN GOSLING.
Texas Tech's next Big Ten matchup: After Glen Mason's dismissal from Minnesota, Texas Tech has avoided scheduling the Big Ten in the regular season. It's about time another regiment got a crack at them in a bowl game.
Sherman's Next Destination: Tulsa, Oklahoma