As the nation’s No. 1 team by every poll and computer ranking, Texas barely has time to catch its breath, let alone celebrate their accomplishments.
A win over Oklahoma took the Longhorns to the top spot. Victories over No. 11 Missouri and seventh-ranked Oklahoma State kept them there.
The reward: a Saturday night in Lubbock against a Texas Tech team that has risen to seventh in the most recent Bowl Championship Series standings and could find itself much higher with a win.
“Everybody’s shooting to knock you down,” said Texas cornerback Ryan Palmer. “We control our own destiny, but it’s kind of hard in the Big 12 when you’re playing Top 10 teams every week.”
Texas Tech may or may not be the best team that the Longhorns will face in their four-game tour of the Big 12’s elite.
Tech almost certainly represents the biggest challenge.
The Oklahoma game was played in the ultimate neutral site, the 50-50 split at the Cotton Bowl.
Missouri and Oklahoma State came to the familiar surroundings of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Now Texas must travel into a charged atmosphere on the home turf of another unbeaten.
ESPN’s College GameDay crew will be in the house. An ABC national audience will be watching.
Things have not rocked like this in Lubbock since native son Buddy Holly appeared in the same concert with an in-his-prime Elvis. Things have not rocked like this in Lubbock since native son Buddy Holly appeared in the same concert with an in-his-prime Elvis.
“I don’t feel hype, I just see footballs,” Tech receiver Michael Crabtree said after the Colorado game. “Whatever they say, I don’t listen to it.”
Good luck with that.
Upset will be in the air.
“Night game. ABC,” Texas receiver Quan Cosby said. “If you love this game, you have passion for this game, it’s really hard not to get fired up.”
“A win would put the Longhorns into a potential glide path to the BCS title game. While Baylor and Texas A&M are traditional rivals, neither is enjoying a great season. Kansas just got humiliated at home by Texas Tech.
And the likely opponent in the Big 12 title game is Missouri, which trailed Texas, 35-0, earlier this season.
Yet Texas coach Mack Brown has preached caution while praising his team’s approach.
“This is a really good football team, and I didn’t think we had a letdown at all,” Brown said after the Oklahoma State win. “They are just having fun playing and enjoying who they are and what they’ve accomplished so far.”
While he has seen his team score 50 points on Tech in three of the last four meetings and he has lost just once to counterpart Mike Leach, it was costly.
The 2002 Longhorns were ranked fourth and thinking about a national title.
Tech countered with veteran quarterback Kliff Kingsbury and do-everything receiver Wes Welker (247 all-purpose years) in a 42-38 upset.
This season, Tech features three-year quarterback starter Graham Harrell and Crabtree, who can break a game open in countless ways.
For Texas, it’s just another week at the top.