CFN Analysis - Texas Tech blasts WVU

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 13, 2012


The CFN analysis of Texas Tech's stunning win over West Virginia

E-mail Pete Fiutak
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There’s the Big East version of West Virginia we’ve all been waiting for.

Maybe, as the puzzle is being put together and considering what happened in the Red River Rivalry, beating Texas really wasn’t any big deal, and blowing up on Baylor in a gimmick game really wasn’t anything to give away the Heisman over. The Mountaineer defense wasn’t going to be anything special, but the offense was always supposed to make up for the problems.

But not this week.

Texas Tech has shown up this year with a real, live defense, doing a 180-degree turn from last season when you and ten friends could’ve ripped off 250 rushing yards on the Red Raider D. Texas Tech held up its end of the bargain with Seth Doege and the offense tearing up 676 yards, but Geno Smith wasn’t able to get the big plays down the field he’s used to and his receivers weren’t running free and clear through the secondary on the midrange passes.

Of course West Virginia is really, really good, and of course this one loss doesn’t mean the Big 12 title hopes are out of the picture, but remember, last year it took everything in the bag just to get to the Orange Bowl. It took week after week of close wins, and that was in the Big East. Without a nasty defense to fall back on, Geno has to be nearly perfect. He wasn’t, the offense wasn’t, and now the Big 12 title chase has been turned upside down.

Now watch for the Mountaineers to turn the machine back on next week against Kansas State to make the already fun league even wilder.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

How many times have we said it? You have to have a defense to have a really special season.

West Virginia had scored behind Geno Smith and his Heisman campaign at will heading into Lubbock. But you just had a feeling that somewhere, someway, there was going to be a game or two along the line where things just weren’t going to click on offense, and the defense would have to bail the Mountaineers out.

Then there was last week against Texas where the game had more fireworks by both teams than a Fourth of July jubilee. Still, The Mountain men were able to buck up and simply outscore the Longhorns on their way to what we believed might have been one of those games.

But don’t kid yourselves.

When a team rolls out less defense than a Swiss convention on a weekly basis, there are sure to me more and more of those games. And so it was today. The defense sadly, couldn’t come close to rising to the occasion.

Perhaps more shocking though, is that WVU seemed to have left its offense back in hills of Morgantown. The Texas Tech defense has been the real deal so far this year, but giving up 41 points to Oklahoma last week looked like a primer for another Heisman performance by Geno this week. Instead, there simply was no fire power in the gun-toting mascot for West Virginia.

So another top ten team goes down, and college football remains about as predictable as the weather this time of year. It remains about as entertaining as anything you can imagine.

By Matt Zemek

Tommy Tuberville's problem as a modestly – but not hugely – successful college football coach is that his teams can't beat ordinary or downmarket opponents. When it comes to getting up for the big boys, Tubs has regularly delivered the goods in his career. At Auburn, he knocked off Florida in 2001 when the Gators were at the height of their powers, the biggest of his memorable ambushes when in the Southeastern Conference. This Texas Tech blowout of West Virginia marks the sixth win Tuberville has attained against a team ranked in the top five. He owns 10 other wins against teams ranked sixth through tenth.

The natural question following this game is simply this: "Will Texas Tech maintain this high level of performance after a signature triumph, instead of losing five straight games the way the Red Raiders did after jumping Oklahoma 12 months ago?" Indeed, many pundits are going to remain unconvinced about Texas Tech until it becomes a more consistent team. Fair enough.

Let's establish one point, though: Limiting West Virginia to 14 points is a tremendous accomplishment, even if you're not sold on the Red Raiders. If college football observers thought Texas Tech was going to win this game, the general consensus was that the Red Raiders would win a 42-35 kind of game. Winning by 35 is something Texas Tech did not do in last year's big upset, the 41-38 decision over Oklahoma. Tuberville is building a better defense in Lubbock, Tex. The question is if Tech's improvements will be substantial enough to elevate the Red Raiders to the top tier of the Big 12.

As for West Virginia, the main point to keep in mind is that life in the Big 12 was going to involve more travel than the Big East (save for the trip to South Florida). Traveling to the state of Texas in consecutive weeks definitely caught up with the Mountaineers. That's an NFL-level travel schedule for college players who do not receive paychecks. It mattered.

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

In my Final Thoughts piece yesterday, I wrote that this game was most intriguing matchup of the weekend. After all, Texas Tech not only had one of the most electric offenses in the country, it also ranked first in the nation in passing defense. Sure, they'd played some run-first teams, but allowing only 117.4 yards passing per contest caught my eye immediately.

After today's game, the rest of the country will take notice as well.

The Red Raider defense turned in the best performance by any team this season, limiting the most potent offense in the country to just 14 points. The West Virginia receivers could not get any separation from the Tech defenders, who were in position to break up the pass every time the Mountaineers threw downfield.

That's quite a showing against a team that averages 52 points per game.

So what does this convincing win mean?

Simple: the Big 12 is every bit as loaded as it was last year, when it boasted (arguably) the deepest conference in the nation. Most people wrote off Texas Tech after its loss to Oklahoma last weekend, but today's game proves that the Red Raiders belong in the upper half of the league. Given how well Kansas State, Oklahoma, and yes, even West Virginia, have played this season, there's no disputing that Tech belongs in the top 20 with the other teams.

Does that mean that the Big 12 is ready to take on the SEC?

It's tough to say. Let's hope that the champions of the respective conferences are able to settle it on the field at the end of the season.