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November 22, 2012

Plenty for Tech fans to be thankful for

The college football embodies the typical events that surround our favorite gluttonous football watching holiday, Thanksgiving. Like the offseason, an inordinate amount of time is spent preparing various dishes for Thanksgiving dinner. After copious amounts of preparation, the feast takes place and the hard work in the kitchen is enjoyed at the dinner table.

On Thursday, most Red Raider fans will experience Thanksgiving eating highs and lows that draw a remarkable parallel to the lineage of the 2012 Texas Tech football season.

You'll sit down at the kitchen table, ready to seize your appetite, as you begin to shovel mashed potatoes, turkey, green beans and dressing into your mouth as if your stomach is a bottomless pit (Northwestern State, Texas State, New Mexico and Iowa State). Next thing you know that first sign of indigestion hits as a reminder that you are not a world class eating champion like Kobayashi or Joey Chestnut (Oklahoma). However, burps and hiccups won't stop you as you dive back in to devour what's left on your plate (West Virginia) and cap off a delicious meal with a satisfying desert, most likely pumpkin, pecan or an apple pie of sorts, licking your fingers with extreme satisfaction (TCU).

After dinner, you sit down in the nearest recliner and fall into a deep sleep from the food coma that occurs (Kansas State). There is a football game on television and you are suddenly awakened from the roaring cheers from others in the room. You try to stay awake, dozing in and out of the game, but eventually fall back asleep in your chair (Texas). After the insurmountable malaise from over-eating, you're awake just long enough to head back for the leftovers (Kansas) before you're back in the recliner, feeling sluggish and bloated, wondering what the heck you've done to yourself today (Oklahoma State). Before you know it, the highly anticipated Thanksgiving Day has come and gone in a flash amongst the chaos of eating everything in sight.

In the midst of the madness of both Thanksgiving and the college football season, we sometimes forget all of reasons we have to be thankful. Fresh off a 39 point defeat, even Texas Tech fans have plenty to be thankful for this season.

SETH DOEGE'S CAREER

It hasn't always been pretty, but you have to admire the leader and talent this kid has become. Suffering through two major knee injuries in high school, winning out in a three-way quarterback battle for the starting job prior to the 2011 season, never having a healthy supporting cast around him, bouncing back from a downtrodden 2011 season, only to persevere through all those obstacles into hierarchy of Texas Tech record books. Not many programs are lucky enough to have a player of his caliber, both on and off the field, to genuinely root for. I'm definitely thankful to have covered and watched the career of a quarterback like Seth Doege.

CHAD SCOTT AND SONNY CUMBIE'S RECRUITING PROWESS

Not to take anything away from the rest of the coaching staff, especially outstanding recruiters like Chris Thomsen and Robert Prunty, but Tech's running back and inside receiver coaches have been on fire like NBA Jam when it comes to locking down some of the country's top talent for the Red Raiders.

For Chad Scott, guys like Devin Lauderdale, Maurice Porter, Rodriguez Moore, Daryl Chestnut and D.J. Gillins are all essentially committed to Texas Tech because of their relationship with the coach compared to other programs. Sonny Cumbie has matched Scott's efforts by reeling in high upside prospects like Dylan Cantrell, Maurice Chandler and Jakari Dillard.

Both coaches are just getting started with the 2014 class and neither is done making a name for themselves with the 2013 class, which is set to sign in February. Scott and Cumbie are two coaches coming up in the game that Tech fans should be especially excited about having on their side. Overall, I'm thankful for a coaching staff that can recruit elite talent to Lubbock.

CONFERENCE NIGHT GAMES AT JONES STADIUM

After the power goes out in the middle of summer when triple digit temperatures are the norm, it's only then we take the time to appreciate having air conditioning units as a part of modern day living. Hosting conference night games at home falls in the same category.

Say what you want about the home games in recent years, night games at the Jones have always been the best atmosphere for Texas Tech football. Since the turn the century, some of the most memorable games for Red Raider fans have been night games in Lubbock where fans saw upsets over top ranked opponents. The fact that Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas all came to Lubbock this season and none of these games were played at night, was very disappointing.

It's one of those things that you don't appreciate until it's gone and I'm thankful for any night games that have been played and will be played at Jones AT&T Stadium.

CODY DAVIS AND HIS BLOG

I love getting an unfiltered glimpse into the mind of one of the best player on the Texas Tech defense. Davis puts his money where his mouth is as the unofficial spokesperson for the Chain Gang. Connecting with the fans on a different level, outside of quotes from the post-game press conference, is just another sign of the lunch pail-esque leadership fans have grown to appreciate since his freshman season.

The performance on the field doesn't disappoint, either. Davis has ranked first or second in tackles in all four seasons since he stepped on the field as a redshirt freshman. He leads the conference's second ranked pass defense with three interceptions this season and his numerous big play saving tackles in run-support are worth their weight in gold. It's going to be a tall task to ask the next guy in line to fill the shoes of someone who has been such a star in the Red and Black and is a virtual lock to be on an NFL roster for the 2013 season. Did I mention he's an All-Big 12 in academics, too?

It's easy to give thanks for someone who has represented Texas Tech football at such a high level in every possible facet of the program.

ART KAUFMAN WAS CONTRACTUALLY HIRABLE THIS OFFSEASON

They may have struggled as of late, but the Red Raiders are still ranked 25th overall in total defense. Say what you want about the subpar quality of their opponents early on in the 2012 season, but in years past that same level of opposition ran all over the Texas Tech defense with blatant disregard to the college football hierarchy.

The Red Raiders are in play for potential high profile defensive recruits like Derrick Calloway, Marcus Hardison, Quincy Russell and L.J. Moore mainly because of the improvement on defense under Art Kaufman. While there is plenty of room for improvement on this defense heading into next season, Kaufman's first year as Tech's defensive coordinator, without question, has been an abundant success. Tech fans should be thankful they finally have a defense that seems to be heading in the right direction after this season.

With only two games left in the 2012 season, there is plenty to be thankful for in Raider-land. Tommy Tuberville's team has every opportunity to finish out the season on a positive note and exceed expectations set in the preseason. There have been numerous reasons to cheer and just as many reasons to jeer at the results on the football field this season.

However, I think all Red Raider fans can all agree on one thing: they are thankful not to be the Kansas Jayhawks.


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