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Which Texas Tech Matchup is Toughest?

Sports Illustrated revealed its toughest game of the season for all Big 12 teams.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders enter the 2022-23 season as an exciting new era is set to get underway.

But the initial wave of competition for the team and new coach Joey McGuire won’t make a transition into a fresh start all that easy.

The Red Raiders have a meeting with the Murray State Racers in Week 1, a game that shouldn’t present too many issues considering the fact that the Racers went just 6-5 last season while mostly facing Ohio Valley Conference competition.

But then the going gets rough. Sports Illustrated revealed its toughest game of the season for all Big 12 teams and has Tech’s matchup with the Houston Cougars at home in Week 2 as its top test.

The Cougars present one of the hardest challenges that McGuire and Co. will have all season when coach Dana Holgorsen’s squad comes marching into Lubbock. It’s a matchup that Tech won 38-21 last season. But the Cougars finished off the year 12-1 after that game with the only loss coming to the Cincinnati Bearcats, who would go on to be the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff.

With Cincinnati’s success uncertain this season following the departure of NFL draft picks like quarterback Desmond Ridder and cornerback Sauce Gardner, Houston is one of the favorites to win the AAC and should be extra motivated against Tech considering last season’s events.

Here’s SI’s analysis of the game:

Lose this game and Texas Tech could very well be 1-4 going into the bye week. The Red Raiders play a tough schedule, no doubt about it. But ahead of that bye week is downright brutal: vs. FCS Murray State, vs. Houston, at a ranked NC State, vs. Texas, at Kansas State, and at Oklahoma State.

With conference play right on the horizon, it may be easy for Tech to overlook Houston. But the Cougars are a top-25 team and return a ton of talent from a 12-win team a season ago. Tech beat them in 2021, so Dana Holgorsen's crew will be ready to go in 2022.

But you could make the argument that things only get more difficult in the weeks to follow.

Tech will then travel to Raleigh to face a team on the rise in the ACC. The game against the N.C. State Wolfpack will be the final non-conference game for the team in Week 3 before the Red Raiders host the Texas Longhorns, then play two-straight Big 12 road games against an underrated Kansas State Wildcats team and an elite defensive Oklahoma State Cowboys squad.

You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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