NORMAN — Texas Tech rides into Norman sitting high in the saddle.
Atop the Big 12.
Some in Soonerland fear the worst against Kliff Kingsbury and his rejuvenated Red Raiders. Not just a loss but a beatdown. After all, it's happened to better Oklahoma teams than this against Texas Tech.
I can't tell you with certainty what will happen Saturday afternoon — although I have picked the Sooners to win 35-31 — but I can tell you one thing for sure.
Texas Tech is overrated.
No way the Red Raiders are the 10th best team in the country as the BCS rankings espouse. I realize that Texas Tech is undefeated, but at least a dozen of the 15 teams ranked behind them in the top 25 would be undefeated too if they played the same schedule so far.
The Red Raiders have played just one team with a winning record.
The mighty Bobcats are 4-3 with wins against Southern Miss, Prairie View A&M, Wyoming and Georgia State.
Every other team that Texas Tech has played has a losing record, and several are really bad losing records. SMU, 2-4. Stephen F. Austin, 3-4. TCU, 3-4. Kansas, 2-4. Iowa State, 1-5. West Virginia, 3-4.
Easily the best quarterback that Texas Tech has faced is Garrett Gilbert. Yep, the old Texas quarterback who's now at SMU.
He actually did pretty well against Texas Tech. Gilbert was 41 of 62 for 388 yards, and even though SMU eventually lost by double digits, it only trailed 20-16 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Blake Bell, for all his inconsistencies, is a better quarterback than Gilbert, and the Sooner offense, for all its foibles, is much better than SMU's offense. They will be the best quarterback and best offense that Texas Tech has faced this season.
The Sooner defense won't be the best defensive unit that the Red Raiders have gone against. TCU holds that distinction. But aside from the Horned Frogs, the Sooners will challenge the Red Raiders more than any other team so far.
Listen, I'm not saying any of this to try to give Texas Tech bulletin board material — frankly, if you think any member of the media can have an appreciable impact on a game, you need to have your head examined — nor am I trying to tamp down what's happening in Lubbock. Honestly, I'm fired up that Texas Tech is back among the top teams in the Big 12. Having the Red Raiders in the lower half of the league was no fun. It's always more interesting when games on the West Texas plains are unpredictable.
The past couple years with the Red Raiders faltering, you pretty much knew what was going to happen when a better team went to Lubbock.
Nowadays, if you're heading there, you'd better make sure your chin strap is buckled. That place is a tortilla-throwing viper pit again — and I'm glad that it is.
But that doesn't mean the Red Raiders are one of the 10 best teams in the country. Frankly, if they went to a neutral field and played any of the 10 teams ranked right below them, I'd pick eight of those teams to win.
Maybe Saturday is the day Texas Tech gets the win that gives its undefeated record and lofty status legitimacy.
Until then, the Red Raiders are overrated.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.