Ok. So, if you have followed our plays for any length of time, you should have been able to see this one coming. This one has all the ingredients of what amounts to a solid play in our eyes. A play that we know, if made 100 times, will get us the money better than 53% of the time. It's important to understand that concept when wagering on sports. We feel have a better than 53% chance of winning this one. We are long term investors. Not quick fix instant gratification players. We like to say that every year in college football, the stats and situations stay the same, only the color of the uniforms and helmets change. In other words, we have seen games very similar to this one, countless times over the last 27 years. Games that meet a certain criteria both statistically and emotionally that qualify them as plays for us. The long term track record is pretty damn good, which makes this one an automatic buy for us.
From an emotional standpoint, you can't ask for more. Texas Tech, at home, hosting the number one team in the Nation, which also happens to be a conference and in state rival that has had your number having beaten you 5 straight and 11 of the last 16. The game is a prime time affair, broadcast nationally, with the eyes of a nation on this game and this game only. ESPN's Game day program will be their live all day. Both teams are undefeated. The Big 12 title is up for grabs. The National Title is up for grabs. Tech also gets the underdog nod. A built in edge in games like these. Hey, no one expects us to win. We get no respect. Let's prove everyone wrong. We have nothing to lose. You get the picture. The pressure is on Texas.
On to the game. All of the above means nothing unless you have some talent to work with. Just to be clear, and to show we aren't wearing blinders, we fully realize Texas has played the tougher schedule to date. Both of these teams started out with 3 or 4 cupcakes and both dismantled them as they were supposed to. For Texas Tech, you really can't give them credit for playing anyone until last weeks destruction of Kansas. You'd also have to raise your eyebrows at their inability to put away a mediocre Nebraska team. Texas on the other hand, has had a tough 3 game stretch in which they rose to the occasion beating Oklahoma, Missouri and Oklahoma State. (Two of those games were at home and the other was at the Cotton Bowl). But that three game stretch may be more of a negative than a positive. It's not easy to get sky high mentally to play a football game, 4 weeks in a row. The potential for this to be a flat spot is there.
In watching Texas though, you don't get the feel that your are watching a National Champion. Can they win a National Title? Sure they can. They can beat any team in the nation, on any given day. But they are also vulnerable. Championship teams don't give up the kind of yardage and big plays that Texas does. They could have easily lost last week as well as a couple of weeks back against Oklahoma. As a matter of fact, it was the Oklahoma game that made this handicapper realize there would be a good spot or two to go against this year.
That's where this week and Texas Tech come in. Any time you have a team like Texas Tech, an offensive powerhouse year after year, that can score points with the best of them, the door is always open. The Texas secondary ha been suspect all season. Teams are throwing the ball on he Long Horns. Texas Tech will be no exception. They'll move the ball and will score points. No one will argue that point. Will they outscore Texas? We shall see.
What adds to the Tech appeal here, is that they aren't just getting it done offensively. Sure, Texas Tech and offense go hand in hand. Every year they lead the nation in offensive categories. But defense is usually a 4 letter word. It's an afterthought. It's usually just a unit to put on the field for a few minutes while the high powered offense catches it's breath. But this years Red Raiders are a bit different. The defense hasn't been half bad. The defense is 3rd overall in the Big 12. The rush defense and scoring defense are 2nd in the Big 12 and they actually have a bit of a running game going, a rarity for Tech teams.
Ultimately this is a game between two excellent offensive football teams, both of which can be vulnerable on the defensive side of the ball. Both teams will score some points here. It will likely come down to a big play or two, on either side of the ball. A mistake here or there. Speaking of mistakes, note that Texas Tech is in the top 10 in the Nation in turnover margin at +9. Exactly where you want a team to be when you're hoping that the team you're backing isn't the one to make a crucial game deciding mistake. Remember, losing bettors like to say team x gets all the breaks. Winning bettors realize that teams create those breaks. You can't always predict the future with the past, but you can certainly try. +9 in Turnovers is a nice place to be.
Some programs dominate others and while Texas has had the upper hand in this one, you don't have to look far to see if Tech can compete. 35-31 Texas in 2006. 43-40 Texas in 2003. 42-38 Tech in 2002. That's just to illustrate that Texas Tech is capable of putting teams on the field that can not only go toe to toe with Texas, but can also beat them. Certainly this looks to be one of the best Tech teams in years. They started the year with just about every single starter from a year ago. Also note they have a big offensive line that has only given up three sacks all year.
Texas Tech has an offense as good as any in country. The Texas defense is less than stellar and plenty vulnerable. Tech has every imaginable motivational edge, the home field edge, the turnover edge, and the psychological edge that goes along with being an underdog at home in perhaps the biggest game in the history of Tech football. It's no lock. It's no guarantee. It's simply a nice spot for Texas Tech getting +6 in a game where an upset is certainly possible.