Texas Tech Catches A Breather, For Now

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When the college football season ends this January (after the last of the bowl games has been played), much of that review will focus on the success that the Big 12 had as a conference. It may not matter if a Big 12 Conference team wins the national championship, rather analysts are likely to marvel at just how tough the league was in 2008, particularly for defensive units.

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As of this writing, the top Big 12 team is #2 Texas Tech, who remains undefeated, but they are getting ready to travel to Norman, OK on November 22nd to play the #5 Sooners. The Oklahoma game will represent the fourth consecutive Top 25 game that the Red Raiders have played, a string that includes victories over Kansas, then #1 Texas, and Oklahoma State.

If Texas Tech is able to knock off Oklahoma and Baylor, then they’ll represent the Big 12 South for the Big 12 title game on December 7th. Barring an upset in its last two games, #12 Missouri will represent the Big 12 North setting up what promises to be an explosive contest with both teams accustomed to scoring 50 points or more in most every contest they’ve played this season.

Exactly what is it that is changing the face of Big 12 football, indeed nearly all college football these days? I can give you three words: no huddle offense. With at least four high quality quarterbacks in the conference, Big 12 teams simply line up and throw or run the ball. No long snap calls and not much defense to speak of – teams are running up and down the field amassing more than five hundred yards per game and routinely scoring 50, 60, even 70 points or more without flinching.

Fans don’t seem to mind, knowing that they can see constant action on the ground as teams criss cross the field in search of yardage which seems to come to them rather easily. Averaging nearly 48 points per game through the first ten games of the year, the Red Raiders will have to employ some defense against Oklahoma which is scoring just over 51 points per game. Then again, the Sooners will have to contend with senior QB Graham Harrell who has passed for 4077 yards and 36 touchdowns just ahead of their own sophomore QB sensation Sam Bradford who has amassed 3406 yards and 38 touchdowns.

Will the Red Raiders be able to continue their string of success for a fourth consecutive game? Given that the game is in Norman, they’ll face a hostile crowd of 80,000 mostly Sooner fans in Memorial Stadium, making the task of victory all the more difficult for them. For that reason, I’ll go with the Sooners in a barn burner, 48-44 – a last minute comeback for Oklahoma.


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