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Texas Tech's Upcoming Slate of Games Has Red Raiders at a Crossroads

The Texas Tech Red Raiders next two games could change the tides of this season.

It's essentially the halfway point of head coach Joey McGuire's first season at the helm for the Red Raiders and so far, things are trending upward for Texas Tech. 

Although their record has them sitting at 3-3, they've faced one of the hardest schedules of any team in college football, third most difficult to be exact, and have beaten two in-state rivals already.

Five of their six opponents were ranked at the time of the game and, even in the losses, Tech looked like they had a fighting chance. But after two straight defeats, the Red Raiders have yet to win a road game, and they're still hammering out their quarterback situation a bit as well. 

McGuire and Co. will have some time to figure out those road woes as they're set to play two consecutive home games. Those conference clashes aren't exactly must-wins, but a pair of victories in this home stand would do wonders for Tech's season fortunes. 

This year, Jones AT&T Stadium has been friendly territory, serving up an undefeated home record for Tech. The Red Raiders' last battle in that venue saw them take down the Texas Longhorns in overtime, leading to a frenzied fan avalanche rushing the field post-game. 

They'll be looking to recreate some of that magic again this weekend against West Virginia and then again when they face Baylor in Week 9.

Saturday's game against the Mountaineers will likely tell us what Texas Tech's offense will look like for the rest of 2022. After a week off, there's been ample time for McGuire to decide which quarterback will be starting against West Virginia and that decision will determine a lot for the Red Raiders.

Sophomore Donovan Smith has done a lot of the heavy lifting in Tech's three wins but has also made costly mistakes in the losses. Redshirt freshman Behren Morton put forth a lights-out performance against Oklahoma State in Week 6, but McGuire indicated he hadn't made any rash decisions based on one outing. 

The head ball coach will have all that, plus senior Tyler Shough's impending return to consider.

If the Red Raiders do go with Morton, that will likely set them on a path to build around him for the next few years. He certainly suits this offensive scheme, but does he have the right stuff to win big games? We may find out the answer to that question very soon. 

West Virginia is not exactly a juggernaut this year but they did just take down Baylor in a 43-40 shootout, so Tech's going to have to put some serious points on the board in this one. 

Morton did get the offense going quicker than usual in his lone start, and that could be too enticing for McGuire to pass up. Should Morton get the start again this Saturday, some convincing first-half scoring could tentatively lock him in as the first stringer, barring injury. 

This two-game stretch will be crucial to Tech's end-of-season fate. If they string these victories together to improve to 5-3 - while maintaining an undefeated home record - that should put them in a good position to earn a bid to a respectable bowl game. 

It'll also build some vital momentum that the Red Raiders will need in their next road game in the Week 10 showdown with No. 8 TCU. 

They say there's no place like home, and for Tech, it's make or break time, so a couple of contests in Lubbock might be just what the doctor ordered.

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