Texas Tech Is Heading Into Norman Asking ‘Why Not Sonny Cumbie?’
Sonny Cumbie played his high school football in Snyder, Texas. Then, he walked on at Texas Tech and backed up Kliff Kingsbury and BJ Symons before earning the starting job for the 2004 season.
Cumbie then went and played quarterback professionally for several leagues and even spent a season as a broadcaster before becoming a GA for Mike Leach in 2009. He stayed on staff at Texas Tech through Tommy Tuberville's stint, then was with Kingsbury in 2013 before he took a job with TCU in 2014. In 2021, the ex-quarterback returned home as the offensive coordinator for his old team, in more ways than one, to try salvage a staff.
Cumbie's offense has performed admirably this season, but couldn't muster a single point in the second half on Saturday against Kansas State to win the game for Texas Tech. That game ultimately cost Matt Wells a job, but I don't know that a touchdown on Saturday would have changed that decision more than just delayed the inevitable.
Cumbie is now in his first week as the interim head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders. From a walk-on to interim head coach in just about 20 years, with many steps in between, is movie script quality. To make it a true Hollywood script, Texas Tech would go down to Norman, Oklahoma and win their first game in the stadium since 2011.
That 2011 game included a young Cumbie as WR coach when the Red Raiders shocked the third-ranked Sooners 41-38. The game started off weird with an hour-long lightning delay to open the game. Coach Tuberville joked after the game that the PB&J sandwiches players ate during the delay before the game might have had something to do with the upset. Tuberville said the team would continue to do so that season.
If Cumbie can come up with his own brand of peanut butter magic this season, all the rumors swirling about hiring a brand new coach in Lubbock might die out quickly. I don't know what it would take for Cumbie to retain his current position, but I don't think it's completely out of the question.
Of course, the season doesn't get any easier after Oklahoma, with the four best teams in the Big 12 lining up as the final four games for Texas Tech. In fact, I could argue that Oklahoma might be the "easiest get" remaining on the schedule for Texas Tech. I wouldn't argue that for long, though. Oklahoma is the one team that's remained undefeated, but Iowa State, Oklahoma State, and Baylor all have better wins on the schedule than OU does.
Still, Oklahoma has won six straight Big 12 titles for a reason, and as Ric Flair famously said: "To be the man, you have to beat the man."
The real question is, can Sonny Cumbie channel the emotion that's been spent this week after Wells' firing into profitable energy on Saturday afternoon. Can Erik Ezukanma and Kaylon Geiger get free in a bad Sooners secondary? Can the O-line allow QB Henry Colombi enough time to make the quick decisions needed to run the offense efficiently? I don't know. If anything still looks elite at Oklahoma, it's the pass rush.
The Sooners are favored by three possessions against the Red Raiders with a 19.5-point cushion for Texas Tech to cover. I'm going to wipe away the frustrations that the Sooners have experienced against the spread this season; they only beat Kansas by 12 after being favored by 38.5. I think the more important question is, can Cumbie have Texas Tech prepared. I think he can.
I'll take Texas Tech to cover, but lose late with a close 38-31 final in Norman in favor of the Sooners.