The concept of rivalry games in college sports is a longstanding tradition. From Ohio State and Michigan, to Harvard and Yale, and to the relatively newer ones like Baylor and TCU, rivalry games have been a part of the game since it's conception and will continue to be a part of the game as long as it is played.
For Texas Tech, it seems as if we don't have a rival. Our relations with most of the other fanbases are less than cordial, and our reputation is as such that we can be accused of throwing batteries at teams and nearly everyone will believe it, even when it's total bullcrap. There is not a single fanbase in the Big XII that we don't have some form of animosity with.
To some, our main rival is the Texas Longhorns in their ivory towers, looking down their noses at the South Plains. For others, it's the Oklahoma Sooners, especially with their current quarterback. Still another section despises the Oklahoma State Cowboys for the theft of traditions. Tech fans are decidedly undecided in their hate, sending it out in all directions from Lubbock. And that's exactly the way it should be.
For a long time the Red Raiders have been synonymous with outlaws. The name "Red Raiders" came about in the 1930's, with a Lubbock Morning Avalanche editor coining the nickname due to the all-red uniforms and Texas Tech's schedule that spanned the continental US. The marauding legacy definitely existed before Mike Leach, but the former head coach's brash personality and high-flying offense solidified the image. Since it's conception, Texas Tech has been an outsider of sorts, the kid in the black jacket who rarely shows up to class but completely dominates the scene when it does.
In cinema, sometimes the villain is the most memorable character. No one remembers Swan or Mercy or Ajax from The Warriors, everyone remembers Luther clanking the beer bottles together, shouting "Waaaaaarioooooooorsss... Come out and plaaaaayyyyeeeaaaayyyy" from his car. The late Heath Ledger outshone Christian Bale in The Dark Knight with his masterful performance as the Joker. Training Day is much less about Jake Hoyt's character progression, and much more how Jake reacts to Alonzo, who drives the entire story. The best villains never turn. They never become the good guys in the end, never see the error of their ways, never have a life-changing epiphany. They're true to themselves.
Having a true rival doesn't sit right with the image of the outlaw, that for better or worse, we're stuck with. Perceptions don't change overnight, and sometimes never change. Despite having arguably one of the most hard-nosed, blue collar, lunch pail kind of coaches in Darrel Royal, the Texas Longhorns will forever be snooty. The Buffalo Bills will forever be chokers, even though getting to 4 straight Super Bowls is an amazing feat. Kliff Kingsbury will forever be the pretty boy, even though he's at work as early as 4 AM nearly every single day. It might not be forever, but for the foreseeable future, Texas Tech is stuck with the image of the outlaw.
Texas Tech has no rival. Texas Tech needs no rival. The greatest outlaws don't discriminate with their hate. They hate all. There is no hierarchy, there is no purpose, no rhythm, no reason. There is themselves and nothing else. If we look hard enough, we can find a reason to be rivals with any team in this conference and several that we haven't played in a long time. We don't have a rival, because in a backwards way we have a rivalry with everyone. To the rest of the conference, Lubbock is the Bermuda Triangle of championship dreams. Great defenses find themselves on their heels in the Jones. Dominant shooters struggle for a myriad of reasons in the USA.
There's no reason to force any hate. That hate is already there. It's pointed in a thousand different directions, and attempting to force it on one or two programs or schools is an exercise in futility. At our core, we're the underdogs, we're the outlaws, we're the anti-heroes. It's high time we embraced this with open arms, because it's not going anywhere.