Texas Tech football: It’s time for Kirby Hocutt to let UT go

Texas Tech football: It's time for Kirby Hocutt to let UT go

From the moment Texas and Oklahoma announced their intentions to join the SEC, Texas Tech football fans have mourned the inevitable loss of the annual series with the Longhorns, the oldest series the Red Raiders have, starting in 1928. Now, there’s only a year left before the two most prominent Big 12 programs will embark on a new conference, making the 2023 regular season finale in Austin the last time Tech and UT will face each other for the foreseeable future, if ever.

However, Texas Tech athletic department leader AD Kirby Hocutt is not giving up hope that this series will someday resume. However, it is time for him to let that dream die and move on because history has already shown that in-state rivalries mean little in the world of billion dollar conference realignment chess moves.

On Sunday, Chris Hummer (a national college football reporter for 247 Sports) tweeted a quote from Hocutt, who said of Texas AD Chris Del Conte in a rather tongue-in-cheek manner, “He’s still scared. Nothing has changed over the year. The ball is in their court. We welcome the chance to play them.”

While many Texas Tech fans love the swagger Hocutt displays in this quote, it’s an unnecessary jab at a show that doesn’t give a shit about Texas Tech (and never did) and reads like a kid-in-the-playground-pulling desperation move. a girl’s hair just to try and get her to notice him. Texas moved on and set its sights elsewhere. Tech and Hocutt should do the same.

After all, we already know from Texas A&M’s actions that a show with an overinflated sense of self-worth that considers itself above Texas Tech will have no motivation to keep alive a series that can do nothing but (in their minds) bring- them negative results.

In fact, since Tech and A&M resided in different conferences, the Aggies actively tried to avoid playing the Red Raiders in football or basketball, a cowardice that was facilitated by the powers that be in the SEC’s office of administration, which kept the two in-state rivals. from meeting at a bowling game or the now-defunct Big 12/SEC men’s basketball challenge.

So why would Hocutt expect the relationship with Texas to take a different path? Why try to keep it alive when there is obviously no desire on the part of the other party?

I’m not one of those people who will act like the series with UT means nothing. Some in Raiderland have a “forget them” or “I don’t care if we play Texas again” attitude.

For the rest of us, it is sad to see such an important part of the history of the Texas Tech football program come to an end. Even though the series has only 18 wins in the 72 times it has been played, it is a special week for Texas Tech fans and the game that produces the most passion and intensity among the folks in red and black.

Indeed, this series has given us some of the most memorable moments in tech history, such as the 2008 catch of Michael Crabtree, Kliff Kingsbury’s double pass to Mickey Peters and Wes Welker to seal the 2002 victory, the “Little People Big World” Trick play with Jakeem Grant in 2015, or even Billy Taylor’s famous 1976 fourth quarter dive into the endzone in Lubbock. If any of these plays had come against BYU or Central Florida, they would have been notable but not iconic in Texas Tech football lore. But because they took down the Longhorns, these plays will forever be talked about by tech fans.

It’s disappointing to miss out on more memorable moments against Texas, but that’s the reality everyone in Lubbock, especially Hocutt, must accept. He has already put all the cards on the table. As he told Hummer, he put the ball in Texas’s court. Now, it’s time for him to stop waiting or trying to get the Horns to give him back. This will not happen.

In a sense, Hocutt is correct. Texas is scared. Not necessarily afraid of Texas Tech. Del Conte knows his program is taking a huge competitive risk by joining the toughest conference in the country and the possibility of Texas following the paths of irrelevance that Nebraska, Colorado and Missouri took after leaving the Big 12 is real in replacing Kansas , Iowa State and West Virginia with Alabama, LSU, Oregon, Florida, Auburn and Tennessee (among others) as conference opponents.

So why would Texas be motivated to play a losing non-conference game every year, especially one against a home-state team that will do anything to beat them? Besides, why give a program that Texas considers a little brother a chance to rise and gain greater status by knocking the horns off their pedestal? For Texas, it’s really a no-win proposition. Any Texas Tech fan willing to look logically at the situation should realize this. The same goes for Hocutt.

What Hocutt can’t do is keep bashing Del Conte and the Horns, even when he’s asked about it by members of the media looking for a catchphrase or newsworthy material for a Tweet. Everyone involved in the situation knows how Tech feels about this situation and that the desire to be involved with the Horns will never die in Lubbock.

Even though Hocutt feels Texas backed out of a verbal agreement to keep this series alive (as was informed) it’s time for him to let it go. Move on. No longer play the part of the spurned lover.

Instead, focus on the immediate future of the Texas Tech football program. That’s as bright a future as it’s been in over a decade and one that could see the Red Raiders become one of the dominant programs in the new Big 12. That’s a future that everyone in the 806 can be excited about. So why focus on trying futilely to keep the past alive?

All good things come to an end and that will obviously be the case in the Tech series against the Longhorns. However, that doesn’t mean the good times are over for the Red Raiders. In fact, with Joey McGuire at the helm, we could be on the verge of the greatest moments most tech fans have ever seen. Even if that future doesn’t include more wins over Texas.

  • Published on 07/17/2023 at 5:58 pm
  • Last updated on 7/17/2023 at 5:58 PM