The stars were easy to name five years ago, when Graham Harrell linked up with Michael Crabtree. Harrell’s game-winning touchdown to Crabtree against Texas was one of the highlights of 2008, with the win one of, if not the, best in school history.
Since that season, things have gone downhill in Lubbock. There was the controversial, ugly split between the university and Mike Leach. Tommy Tuberville followed with two uninspiring seasons.
But at 7-0 and No. 10 in the BCS, Texas Tech is back on the national stage. The Red Raiders’ date with Oklahoma in Norman on Saturday is one of this weekend’s more intriguing games, sort of a bellwether game for Texas Tech’s legitimacy as a BCS contender.
A large part of the success to date, though, can be traced back to bringing in Kliff Kingsbury.
SI’s Stewart Mandel looked at how Kingsbury vaulted his alma mater back into relevancy, and how his players would “literally run in front of an 18-wheeler for him.”
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jimmy Burch wrote how Texas Tech is motivated by its critics — those who didn’t think much of prior to the season and still don’t think much of them now.
Kingsbury specifically mentioned how Texas Tech was put on “upset alert” by College GameDay for the game last weekend against West Virginia, driving home the “prove these people wrong” point before kickoff.
While Texas Tech hasn’t played a difficult schedule — their best win is a 20-10 victory over TCU — they get Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Texas in four of their final five games. If their run of success continues (and there’s some more attrition around the top of the BCS standings), a Texas Tech-Baylor game in Lubbock could have championship implications next month.
Not bad for a first-year coach.
“It doesn’t matter what people are saying now, jumping on board,” Kingsbury said, via the Star-Telegram. “What matters is what we believed in this team room from Day One. The rest of it really doesn’t matter.”