Bedlam football: Texas Tech stunners helps both OU & OSU
The most stunning result in college football Saturday was Iowa State 41, Texas Tech 7. In Lubbock. A week after the Red Raiders ended OU’s 39-game home winning streak, they suffered their third straight home defeat, this time to a team that had been winless in the Big 12.
Iowa State’s quality wins — Iowa and Connecticut — had proven to be not such a big deal, though they were huge to the Cyclones at the time and remain so. I-State appeared to be climbing uphill with a piano on its back, trying to reach the necessary six wins for bowl eligibility. But the Cyclones went to Lubbock and dominated. Forty minutes time of possession, 368 rushing yards on 67 running plays. One week after Seth Doege looked like the best quarterback of the spread era, he looked like the worse. Doege completed just 16 of 32 passes for 171 yards and two interceptions. No touchdown passes. That’s hard to believe for the Sooners, who were continually wounded by Doege darts.
So what to make of the last two Tech games? I think we’re left to make this assumption: in retrospect, Tech’s upset of OU was a total fluke. Not a fluke as in the ball bounced crazily or the refs cheated or the Sooners had food poisoning. Fluke as in, the stars aligned, the Red Raiders played the game of their lives, the Sooners slept-walked through a good chunk of the game, and the result was 41-38.
And here’s what that means for OU and OSU. Good news.
Good news for OSU for this reason. A week ago, we were ready to consider Tech a rising force in the Big 12. Any team that could come into Norman and pin a loss on an elite Bob Stoops team had to be taken seriously. But not now. Which makes OSU’s Nov. 12 trip to Lubbock a lot less precarious. Still won’t be easy to win on the road, but considering that OSU is 3-0 in Big 12 road games (Texas A&M, Texas, Missouri), and Tech is 0-3 in Big 12 home games (Texas A&M, Kansas State, Iowa State), that games looks firmly in OSU’s control.
With Kansas State and Bedlam still upcoming, it’s not like OSU is in dire need of some quality opponents to pad its BCS ranking. The Cowboys have plenty of stiff opposition, plus have the road wins already under their belt. So Tech becoming a team that looks like a little man behind the curtain is a great development for OSU.
As for OU, I don’t think Tech’s downfall is necessarily a bad thing for the Sooners, as it relates to the BCS. Doesn’t really hurt the computer rankings. In this round-robin Big 12, every result helps and hurts the same. OU plays Iowa State, too, so the Cyclone victory is a good thing. I suppose some of the computer rankings give you credit for how a team was slotted when you play them, but that didn’t help OU with Tech, since the Red Raiders only garnered national attention (or a BCS profile) after beating the Sooners.
So what about the pollsters? I think Tech’s exposed status helps the Sooners. The flukish nature of the result could help the image of the Sooners. If Tech goes 9-3 with a big upset of OU, you figure the Sooners lost to a really good team, which is no crime but certainly was disappointing. But if Tech goes 6-6, including 3-6 in the Big 12, or even worse, then it’s virtually unexplainable how the Red Raiders could win on Owen Field.
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