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3* Texas Tech +7 over Oklahoma - They don't get any bigger than this. Monster game with National Title implications as the Red Raiders travel to Norman to take on the Sooners. To be clear, when handicapping games, in order to make a play "special" you really need the perfect storm of handicapping factors to come together. You need to have your statistical edges to go along with those motivational edges unique to College Football. Unfortunately, we don't have that here and actually have a couple of those edges going against us but we're still going to back Tech in this spot and here's why.
When I was watching Texas and Oklahoma duke it out a few weeks back, I said to myself while watching the game that there was no way I was looking at a National Champion on either side, Texas or Oklahoma. There was no defense to speak of in that game. Just a couple of offenses moving the ball up and down the field in a game that was ultimately decided by a couple of mistakes. In that game Texas did manage to hold Oklahoma to 48 yards on the ground but the two teams combined for over 600 yards through the air and while it was an exciting game it left you feeling that both teams were certainly beatable.
On the other hand, when I sat there and watched Texas Tech and Texas, I was left with a much different impression. Anyone watching that game had to say to themselves, WOW, when the first half came to a close. Wow because you saw a team that not only had a spectacular offense but because they showed some life on defense as well. They stifled the Long Horns in that first half. So much so that the Tech defense scored the first points of the game in the form of a safety! When the dust settled in the first half Tech had a 22-6 lead. On the day Tech had 31 first downs to the Longhorns 18. They were 8 for 16 on 3rd down conversions. 579 total yards to 374 for Texas. They had more on the ground and thru the air than Texas and gained almost 4 yards per carry while holding Texas to 3. They also held the ball for 37 minutes to only 23 for the Long Horns. Keep in mind this is the same Texas team that won the stat battle and the game over Oklahoma.
Texas Tech has been known for it's offense for years. They have been a threat to beat any team on any given day as a direct result of their high powered offense, not their defense. Throw a little defense into the mix and you can see why a National Title looms on the horizon. Texas Tech is 3rd in the Big 12 in total defense, 2nd in the Big 12 in scoring defense, and 20th in the Nation against the run. With an offense like theirs, you're really only asking your defense to go out there and slow the opponent down. Make a big play or two. A stop here and there because you're offense is going to score just about every time they touch the ball. This Tech defense has shown the ability to make big plays.
Unless we're looking at 42-7 Oklahoma, heading into the 4th quarter, there's no lead that's safe against Texas Tech. Oklahoma blew two 11 point leads to Texas as well as an 8 point lead at the start of the 3rd quarter. To simplify this, both teams have given up some similar numbers defensively. They have both given up their share of yards through the air while both have managed to hold 5 opponents to under 100 yards rushing. But offensively, we see Tech doing some more damage. They have rushed for more than 100 yards every time out this year. Oklahoma meanwhile was held to 25 yards rushing by TCU and 48 by Texas. Oklahoma's season high thru the air was 468 yards against Kansas. Texas Tech has topped 500 yards through the air 3 times this year and another 2 games with 474 yards or more and this was against Texas and Oklahoma State not the little sisters of the poor.
Oklahoma has revenge going for them as Texas Tech knocked off then #3 Oklahoma and spoiled their post season dreams a year ago. Now they get the chance to settle the score at home before a wild crowd and a National TV Audience. Revenge is always huge. Home field in this case, also huge. Stoops is 59-2 at home in his career at Oklahoma and has won 43 of the last 44 games at home. Of course that's one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is, hey, he lost twice, and 52-3 still looks good.
So, we don't have the perfect storm. We don't have every conceivable motivational edge to go along with statistical edges. We don't have a "special" play. But we do have a solid play. We have two fantastic football teams with a couple of great QB's, either of which can win this game Saturday Night. We're backing a Texas Tech team that will never be out of this game. Barring a complete meltdown, if they aren't winning heading into the 4th quarter they should be in striking distance. Getting 7 points in a game of this magnitude, a game they can win straight up, and a game where even if they are trailing, the back door will always be open, we'll take it. As far as motivation, if playing for a potential National Title and staying undefeated, and getting to play in one of the biggest games in the history of your school isn't motivating enough, you don't belong on the field to begin with.
Also keep in mind, we talk alot about the talent levels between different schools and whether one program can compete regularly with another. Over the years, Oklahoma has owned the more decisive wins in this series. They have more than a couple of blow out wins, while the Tech wins were close games. But we're going back a number of years. There have been plenty of close ones in this series as well. But more importantly, when looking at recent history, we see that Tech has won 2 of the last 3 between these two teams straight up. While both of those games were at home, they lost 34-24 at Oklahoma in 2006 in a game in which Texas Tech led 24-17 at the half. So can this Tech team compete with the Sooners? You betcha. Especially when you consider this years Red Raiders kicked of the year with 10 returning starters on offense and 8 on defense. Not only can they compete, they know they can beat them........this is Texas Tech's year folks.
3* Texas Tech +7 over Oklahoma
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