H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

One for the Ages

As a fan of big time college football I can not help feeling unfulfilled after suffering through the doldrums of Texas wins against no name teams like Michigan, Ohio State and Oklahoma. The pillow fight that was USC v. Notre Dame and the unexpected success of upstarts with no tradition like Alabama and Penn State have left much to be desired from the young season. I found myself wishing for a match-up between the Longhorns and one of the truly elite teams in college football. That match-up is now less than a week away. When the Texas Tech Red raiders bring their 6-0 record and #7 BCS ranking into Darrell K. Royal Memorial stadium this Saturday, the eyes of Texas and the nation will turn to Austin.

This Tech team should not be taken lightly. Over the last three weeks Leach’s boys have stolen small town west Texas headlines from powerhouses like Mike Price’s UTEP Miners by issuing beat downs over not only both vaunted Kansas schools but also a retooled Nebraska team that was clearly hitting on all cylinders. Even more impressive is the fact that the Red Raiders’ dominance could not be contained to division 1-A. They also boast lop-sided victories over division 1-AA powerhouses like Florida International, Sam Houston State, and Indiana State. The team’s confidence is growing exponentially with each win, but can they handle all this success? I submit that the can. After hanging 80 points on a stingy Kat defense from SHSU, Tech fifth year senior QB Cody Hodges showed his poise and maturity by predicting that his team would hang 100 points on Indiana State. This confidence and swagger even in the face stiff competition shows what Tech is made off. Never mind the fact that they only managed 63 points. When Mike Leach was asked if the UT game could but Tech on the map he said, “If you say so. I don't worry about maps, and I don't worry about whether we're on it. I go out there and watch films and watch practices and make corrections. Then I go out and have more practices so I can have more film to watch.” If that kind of fiery rhetoric doesn’t get you going, rewatching that Tech bell ringer clip surely will.

Texas Tech University is not just about academics anymore. The school is building on a short but proud tradition of athletic success. The glory days of tortilla tossing, killing black stallions, coach Spike Dykes (and the Tech girls softball team that shared the same nickname), Cheryl Swoops, and red-haired bizaro Ricky Williams are all gone but not forgotten. The 1970s astro turf is still the same, but a new cast of stars are leading Tech into the future. Cody Hodges is yet another QB who is the greatest in NCAA history (that’s 9 in a row I believe). WR Joel Filateme is blowing by defenders and sucking up all balls thrown his way. There are even rumors that Tech’s defense has improved from the decades of misfits who to a man were too small, too slow, and too stupid to make the flagship university’s practice squad. They have even added a JUCO saftey named Slay that is neither small nor slow.

When you see those red Ts on the black, moist looking helmets and those all too familiar red uniforms that are identical to at least one bad high school team in every district in the state, you know you are in for a fight. Hopefully ABC will do a halftime feature on how all that glitter gets from the hair and make-up of all those classy Lubbock ladies to those storied sparkly helmets. Forget UT’s 30 point win in the stadium that strikes fear in the heart of every Aggy. You can throw the records out when the ‘horns and the guns go up in anticipation of the opening kickoff on what promises be a crisp fall afternoon. You can not, however, get a pizza delivered or get an oil change on this side the Sabine river while this Red Raider team is on the field. That’s just how big this one is.


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