Texas Tech (4-3, 1-3) hasn’t had things go their way in the last 5 quarters. After running out to a 4-1 record and an 18 point lead over West Virginia, in Morgantown, Tech is in gut check mode with possibly their season and their head coach’s job in the balance.
The loss to Iowa State last weekend, was a tough one to swallow, but not unexpected when looking at what Iowa State has done this year to quality offensive teams, but this weekend in Norman, Texas Tech matches up much better than last week. Similar styles, a budding rivalry and a prime time engagement has this contest shaping up to be a great one.
Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1) has the better record but are not looking like the playoff contenders they were after their win in Columbus a little over a month ago. Lincoln Riley was set to take over a juggernaut with all the pieces in place to make a run at the College Football Playoff, but even with Heisman contender Baker Mayfield returning, it hasn’t been easy goings for the first year head coach.
It all started in Waco as Oklahoma came rolling in to battle the winless Baylor Bears. After jumping out to a 21-7 lead after the 1st quarter, Baylor outscored OU 34-28, only to lose late. The following week after jumping out to a 14-3 lead over Iowa State, the Cyclones outscored OU 35-17 the rest of the way to beat the Sooners 38-31. The following week against Texas showed a similar trend. After jumping out to a 17-0 lead, Oklahoma was outscored 24-12 by Texas, only just enough to survive with a 5 point lead.
This past week at Kansas St, Oklahoma looked lost in the first half needing a 32-14 second half comeback to seal a 42-35 victory. If these games lead you to think differently about Oklahoma, you’re not the only one. Sooner fans have been glad Oklahoma has been able to survive, but have serious questions about their defense and team mentality in the second half of games.
Texas Tech can definitely win this game. And even if they get down early, Oklahoma’s second half woes to give Tech an avenue to come away with a big upset victory.
Here’s the tale of the tape:
There is plenty of history to go around between these two programs. Texas Tech has beaten Oklahoma more than most teams in the Big 12. With victories in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011, the back and forth of contests led to a budding rivalry between the two programs. It’s been all Oklahoma of late, winning the last 5 contests, but the history between these two programs goes farther than the win/loss column.
Oklahoma has four coaches on staff that were on Texas Tech’s staff previously, mainly during the Mike Leach era. Lincoln Riley, Ruffin McNeill, Bill Bedenbaugh and Dennis Simmons. Then there of course is Baker Mayfield. Believe it or not, Both Riley and McNeill have some grudges against Texas Tech and the way things were handled post the Mike Leach firing and bowl win over Michigan State. Coupled with Baker Mayfield’s recent issues with Kliff Kingsbury, and his last chance to play Texas Tech, this game is going to be emotional on both sides.
Texas Tech is a 20 point underdog on Saturday in Norman. Though don’t let that spread fool you, Texas Tech just 2 weeks ago was thought to be able to play with anyone in the conference and a bad 5 quarters don’t change that. Texas Tech will still be in good shape if they come home 4-4, but the magnitude of the statement this team could make with a win gives us all we need to know about the Red Raiders’ motivation.
The game will be televised on ABC/ESPN2 at 7pm.
Check the Texas Tech website for radio affiliates in your area.
Here are some links from the week to get you caught up on Oklahoma:
Enjoy the game and don’t forget to come hang with us during the game on the Gameday Thread or on Twitter @vivathematadors