West Virginia may be the last major hurdle Texas Tech needs to clear to win the Big 12 Conference.
If the Red Raiders can contain Heisman candidate Will Grier and outscore one of the nation’s most potent offenses, there’s no reason they can’t hold their position at the top of the conference rankings for the remainder of the season, until the December 2 conference championship game.
The only teams who could legitimately stop Tech from advancing to the conference title game are TCU, Oklahoma and Texas, and each of those teams have fatal weaknesses, if exploited properly:
TCU—Shawn Robinson can’t throw the football
It’s pretty self-explanatory. In the Big 12, if you can’t put up numbers through the air, you’re just not going to beat any good teams. And if Tech takes down West Virginia, that pretty much proves beyond doubt the Red Raiders are a damn good football team. Sure, TCU’s defense will provide some problems, but Alan Bowman is playing like a seasoned veteran, the ground game is as strong as ever, and the receiving core gets deadlier with each passing victory.
Oklahoma—Defense can’t get off the field
This version of the Oklahoma Sooners is completely foreign to college football. Eking out victories against conference bottom dwller Iowa State and independent military school Army is a wildly inauspicious start to the season, and people are starting to wonder if the departure of Bob Stoops is finally starting to hit the program. It’s still the most talented roster in the Big 12, but this is as beatable an Oklahoma team as we’ve seen in the 21st century, and the key is to pound the clock and keep their offense off the field. We can’t forget the impact of Rodney Anderson’s absence, either. In the team’s three games without the star running back, only one player has rushed for over 100 yards, and two out of the three games, Kyler Murray was the leading rusher. That’s not conducive to a healthy rushing attack at all.
Texas—Run game is non-existent
The Longhorn offense is improving, but it’s still yet to reach 40 points in a single game, and that includes measly opponents Maryland and Tulsa. Texas has failed to have a running back rush for 75 yards in a game, and quarterback Sam Ehlinger has completed less than 54 percent of his passes in two of the team’s first four games. The Longhorns may end up the strongest team Tech plays by the time they meet up, and it’s very possible they’ll meet in the Big 12 title game.