Art Briles hire could hurt realignment chances, expert believes


College football is drastically changing right now as conference realignment changes the landscape of the sport on, what seems like, a daily basis. Texas Tech is one team that appeared to be possibly moving, as the future of the Big 12 was in question throughout most of the summer. But one expert thinks the Red Raiders could play themselves out of any realignment with their coaching search.

After firing head coach Matt Wells last week, many names have come up in the coaching search possibilities. One of those is former Baylor coach Art Briles, who was fired after an investigation of sexual assault at the school that Briles did not handle properly. Jon Wilner of The Mercury News believes that if Texas Tech were to hire Briles, it would never be a candidate for the Pac-12.

“No Pac-12 university would consider hiring Briles, not ever, not for a nanosecond — even if he were an alum. Any reports linking Briles to the vacancy would be discredited,” Wilner wrote. “Pressure assuredly would come from campus, faculty, fans, media and the conference office. What happened in Waco was a systemic, horrific abdication of leadership, with Briles at the center of the moral abyss. But Texas Tech has allowed the disgraced former coach’s name to remain linked to its search regardless of whether it intends to consider him for the opening.
That’s a pretty good example of what constitutes a poor ‘institutional fit’ for the Pac-12.”

Whether or not Texas Tech hires Briles is still yet to be seen. But there is no question that the Red Raiders are desperate to get this hire right. This was the third season of the Wells era at Texas Tech, after he was hired away from Utah State in 2019. Wells was at Utah State for six seasons, where he posted a record of 44-34, including two seasons of 10 wins and one season of nine wins. However, the success did not carry over to Texas Tech.

In his first two years with the Red Raiders, Wells went a combined 8-14. Wells was a mere 5-13 in Big 12 play in that stretch and the 2021 season was not off to a much better start. Texas Tech did go 3-0 in the nonconference, but there were questions about the strength of schedule with Houston, Stephen F. Austin and Florida International. The Red Raiders are currently 2-4 in Big 12 play and lost their first game of the post-Wells era, 52-21 to Oklahoma.

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Texas Tech takes the field next on November 13. The Red Raiders host Iowa State that day in Lubbock and the game time is to be determined.