Editor’s note: This is the sixth installment in a series as The Transcript looks at all 12 Oklahoma football games for the 2019-20 season. Ranked from 1st (best) to 12th (worst), factors include difficulty, venue, entertainment value and anticipated margin. Last week: No. 8 UCLA. This week: No. 7 Texas Tech
NORMAN, Okla. — Matt Wells grew up in Sallisaw, Oklahoma and coaches a team in West Texas. Lincoln Riley grew up in West Texas and coaches a team in central Oklahoma.
The Texas Tech-Oklahoma ties always seem to run deep.
Wells, who joined Tech after a six-year stint as Utah State’s head coach, will try to make the Red Raiders relevant again after four losing seasons in the past five years.
His introductory game in the series comes in Norman, where Tech won four times between 2005 and 2011.
• When: Game 4 | Saturday, Sept. 28 (Time, TV: TBA) | Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
• Why it’s No. 7: Conference openers in late September can be tricky. OU’s fortunate to be coming off a bye week in this case.
But these teams have historically staged offensive firefights worthy of a big audience. Since 2007, the winner has scored no fewer than 38 points. OU has scored in the 60s three times in that span.
OU has won seven consecutive games in the series, but Texas Tech’s last win (2011) was a 41-38 conquest — in Norman.
• Last time: Kyler Murray threw two early interceptions that placed OU in a 14-0 hole, but the Sooners rallied behind his four total TDs in Lubbock.
Trey Sermon rushed for a career-high 206 yards and three touchdowns in the Sooners’ 51-46 victory.
A look at the Red Raiders
• The skinny: Texas Tech often goes as far as a good quarterback takes it, and Alan Bowman was dangerous when healthy as a freshman last season.
He had the Red Raiders up two touchdowns on OU before leaving with an injured lung, and threw for 2,638 yards and 17 touchdowns on the year.
Wells brought in graduate transfers that can make an impact in ULM receiver RJ Turner, Penn State defensive back Zech McPhearson, California linebacker Evan Rambo and Utah running back Armand Shyne.
Defensive back Adrian Frye returns after leading the Big 12 with five interceptions in 2018, but the Red Raiders still ranked eighth in total defense.
• Best returning player: Bowman can be a difference maker his sophomore season. His 69.4 percent completion rate was the fourth-best among Tech starters since 2000.
• Biggest departure: Dakota Allen was one of the Big 12’s best linebackers. He totaled 73 tackles and 33 solo, while leading the team in fumble recoveries (2).
Palmateer is sports editor for for The Norman Transcript, a CNHI News Service publication.