Texas Tech football adds opponent to 2025 schedule with pricey game guarantee

The Texas Tech football program has traded a road game at Colorado State on the 2025 schedule for a home game against Kent State, part of Tech athletics director Kirby Hocutt's stated plan for the Red Raiders to have seven home games every season.

Kent State went 1-11 last season under new coach Kenni Burns, its second losing season in a row. Kent State executive deputy athletics director Greg Glaus, who is a sport administrator for football, was a Texas Tech senior associate athletics director from 2017-21.

The schools started working on the agreement weeks ago, and Hocutt said Saturday a contract has been finalized. Barring any more changes, Tech would open the 2025 season with home games against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Kent State and Oregon State.

Many teams have non-conference schedules completed well beyond the short term, so making the switch less than two years in advance will be relatively costly. Tech will pay Kent State a game guarantee of $1.5 million, Hocutt said.

That tops the $1.4 million guarantee Tech gave Florida International for a 2021 game. The amounts are about three to four times what Tech guarantees most teams coming to Lubbock. The next highest game guarantee for which Tech has contracted is $750,000 to Fresno State in 2030.

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Tech also will pay Colorado State a $1 million buyout to not play the road game in 2025.

Tech has only six home games for 2027 and now will consider whether it wants to try and replace its scheduled road game that year at North Texas. Tech officials generally have liked games in the Dallas-Fort Worth area because of the university's large alumni base in the Metroplex and the perceived benefits to recruiting.

After replacing the Colorado State game is resolved, Hocutt said recently, "Then we will turn our attention to '27, the North Texas situation and decide, do we want to go to Denton?

"Obviously, north central Texas is Red Raider country. Is that a market that we, that Joey (McGuire) would want to play in? We haven't had that conversation yet, but we'll get there soon."

Hocutt said in late November that from now on he'll only sign contracts that guarantee the Red Raiders can have seven home games each year, for a few reasons. He wants to give the Red Raiders home-field advantage as much as possible. That benefit could be magnified with the expansion of the College Football Playoff to 12 teams starting this season.

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Tech also wants to capitalize on a $242 million football facilities project, opening this year, that includes a south end zone building at Jones AT&T Stadium and a new daily headquarters, the Dustin R. Womble Football Center.

Soon, Tech will take on substantial debt for the project, for which it has attracted about $102 million in fundraising and pledges.

When construction is complete, Tech will purchase the buildings from the Red Raider Facilities Foundation and plans to pay off the debt through a combination of philanthropic gifts, financing, game-day premium revenue and operating revenue.

Tech expects to make about $3 million to $3.5 million per season in incremental revenue from the south end zone building, deputy athletics director Jonathan Botros said recently, not counting concessions.

Retired college football coaches Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jack Lambert were starters on a Kent State Tangerine Bowl team in 1972, starting a stretch of five winning seasons in six years. Don James, who coached the team from 1971-74, later won a split national championship at Washington.

The Golden Flashes have had 39 losing records in the past 47 seasons, however.

Kent State, which went 1-11 last season, will play Texas Tech in 2025 at Jones AT&T Stadium. The two football programs have never faced each other.
Kent State, which went 1-11 last season, will play Texas Tech in 2025 at Jones AT&T Stadium. The two football programs have never faced each other.

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Texas Tech football adds opponent to 2025 schedule