Well, nobody saw that final score coming.
Nowhere on social media did I see anyone predict the Hogs would win by 21 in Lubbock (feel free to post a link to the tweet with your prediction in the comment section). I knew the Hogs would score (I said the Hogs would score 45), but they brought what looked like an entirely new secondary to West Texas. When Tevin Mitchel used his play-side hand to swat away the first two Davis Webb pass attempts, I almost cried tears of joy.
In that moment, I knew Texas Tech wasn't going to score the 49 points I predicted they would. I started apologizing to my TV screen, as if the secondary could hear me from 580 miles away.While they were still beat over the top and tackling is still questionable at times, those guys did a great job causing turnovers. That was my number one key to victory to a Hog victory. However, I was even more impressed that the defense actually got stops.
Fellow Arkansas Fight writer Drew Angel has accused me of being "that guy who would talk about taxes the moment after you win the lottery." While that can certainly be true at times, I do want to keep everything in perspective. With my next point, I want it to be clear that I'm not trying to take anything away from the Razorback's win. By no means did the Hogs just get lucky in Lubbock.
Was anyone else extremely underwhelmed by what Texas Tech brought to the table? Yes, they struggled with UCA and UTEP, but I figured they were saving their energy for Arkansas. They made no adjustments to stop the run. I would have ran a 5-3 defense before I let someone run like that on me. I truly don't believe that Texas Tech team would win an SEC game this year besides Vanderbilt.
In my Q&A with Viva the Matadors, they asked my opinion of Kliff Kingsbury and I told them he was a "poor man's Kevin Sumlin." By their reaction, one would have thought I wrote that Kingsbury makes John L. Smith look like Bear Bryant. After Saturday, I feel like I owe Sumlin an apology for mentioning him in the same breath as Kingsbury.
Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that Northern Illinois may actually be the toughest non-conference game on this schedule? As my fellow Arkansas Fight writers preview and breakdown NIU this week, I think everyone will see the Huskies will be a stronger test for the Hogs than the Red Raiders were. I'm not putting the Hogs on upset alert, but I expect NIU to cover the current 14.5 point spread.
As for the Hogs getting top 25 votes, that may be a bit of an overreaction. One of the Razorback's wins just lost to D-II Henderson State and their coach quit after the game. I look at it like they are 24 points worse than the national runner-up from last year. Maybe that is top 25 worthy.
In the rebuilding process, everyone knows there are steps you must take and boxes to check off. Texas Tech was just another box to check off for Bret Bielema as he continues to try to build a SEC West contender at Arkansas.