I don't know where you played during 7th edition, but Riptides where hardly a crutch or the only powerful unit in the codex. Yes, the Riptide Wing was the most powerful thing you could bring from our 'dex, that's why it was played in the tournament circuit. You always use the most powerful option in competitive matches. But that doesn't mean other options weren't strong, merely that they were less powerful. Optimized Stealth Cadre, Buffmanders, Y'vahra, Retaliation Cadre alfa-strike and others would still crush people at less-competitive tables. That's where a lot of hate towards Tau comes from, not from tournament placements (we didn't win usually), but from domination over more casual players (i.e. the majority of the player base).
And while the Tau are on the weaker side of things in 8th, if you don't play at tournaments you can still win without spamming Commanders. Besides we have Chapter Approved and point adjustments incoming, let's see how that shakes things up.