By Joe Gulick
Dirk West, through the words of the Boo Bird in this Oct. 11, 1986, cartoon, was correct about two things: First, Texas Tech could defeat Arkansas — and did, by a score of 17-7 in Arkansas.
The second thing was not many people would believe Tech could win. Arkansas was 4-0, ranked eighth in the nation and a 211/2-point favorite. Tech was 2-3 and coming off consecutive blowout losses against Baylor (45-14) and Texas A&M (45-8.)
Of the 26 Southwest Conference games against the Razorbacks before 1986, Tech had lost 22 of them, including the previous nine.
But Tech prevailed against all odds, and it was one of the most pivotal games in school history.
First, it helped turn the 1986 season around, with Tech going 4-1 after the Arkansas game to finish 7-4 and get an invitation to the Independence Bowl.
More than that, it got Tech off a very serious losing track. Before the 1986 season, Tech had endured seven consecutive losing seasons. In the 21 seasons since 1986, the Red Raiders have had only three losing seasons.
The Longhorn referred to Tech athletic director T. Jones and Texas coach Fred Akers, who was rumored to be on his way out. Akers was indeed replaced, and Tech coach David McWilliams was his successor.
Many Red Raider fans, including Dirk, saw McWilliams as a turncoat, but he helped his players believe in themselves and led them to a good season during his one year at Tech.
Previous Dirk West Cartoons