As I sit here continuing to watch this terrible display of football put on by Tech, I sit here both smugly satisfied for telling all my friends that while Tech had a chance to win, it was a very small one, and very frustrated because I know we are better than Tech and we're just as good or better than Oklahoma.
I was actually very surprised some people predicted a Tech blowout. I knew there were four possibilities, and four only, of the outcome of this game: A close Tech win (if OU came out flat), a close Oklahoma win (again if OU came out flat), a comfortable Oklahoma win (if OU came out steady), or an Oklahoma blowout (if OU came out on fire or if Tech came out flat, or both). Tech had zero chance for a blowout. None. Here's why I knew.
Look, before Tech fans get on me for being classless, I know Tech has a good team. They do. Arguably the best they've ever had under Leach. But this is how I knew they weren't that good and not in the class of the elite teams: They didn't blow us out. We played by far our worst game of the season, coming out absolutely brain-dead and utterly flat. We were at the end of a brutal streak, playing our fourth straight game against a top 11 opponent and our 8th straight overall, and we didn't have Chykie Brown, Cosby got injured and was out the whole game, and Orakpo was for the second half. Yet we got down "only" 19-0 and we crawled back into the game. Tech showed their weaknesses on defense in that second half and the Horns came back and nearly won the game but dropped an easy interception. I believe I either stated here or elsewhere that if we played like THAT against an elite team like Florida or Oklahoma, we would have been obliterated with no chance for a comeback. That's what great teams do at home; they punish teams that come out flat in their place, even if their opponent is a quality team. We did that against Missouri. Florida did that to LSU. And now Oklahoma is doing that to Tech.
Tech is once again showing their true, Mike Leach colors. Look, I like the guy. He's done a very respectable job with Tech. However, the fact is that he still has yet to prove that he can win do-or-die games on the road and have a consistent defense that can carry him through when his offense sputters. I said to my Texas friends that the #1 reason I was afraid of the Tech game was because it was in Lubbock, and I deathly afraid that we'd come out flat and dig ourselves in a hole. We did exactly what I feared. If it was in Austin or on a neutral field, I would have been very confident we'd win. In fact, at a neutral site, if we played ten times, we'd probably split Oklahoma 5-5 but we'd beat Tech 9 times. No doubt.
Here's a rested Oklahoma team now, and Tech is playing on the road. OU did the smart thing, which was to run at Tech. Murray humiliated this "improved" Tech defense in the first half, the same Demarco Murray the Horns completely shut down. I'm not surprised by this game at all. I knew Tech could not stop OU. The question was if OU could stop Tech, and they have.
This is the same ol' Tech. Atrocious defense with poor tackling. Average athletes on defense. A choke job on the road. An inability to find other ways to win games when your passing game isn't clicking, which it will not always.
I hate Oklahoma. But I respect them as equals, and thus, I would be more okay with them in the MNC because I know they are one of the elite teams in the country. I don't hate Tech as much but I don't respect them as much. I did not want them to make it the national title game. I suspected they had little chance to win in Norman. I didn't expect such a ridiculous score, but my suspicions were nonetheless correct.
I know this will sound insulting to Tech fans, but it will always be like this with Leach. Leach will field competitive teams. Leach will win big games, especially at home. It is very, very doubtful he will ever take Tech passed the big boys to the top. Leach has never beaten OU and Texas in the same season, a very telling stat.
Congrats to OU. They are indeed one of the best teams in the country, and I would love to meet them again in the national title game if possible. I still don't think they should leap us in the polls if people take every team's entire resume into account, but I expect it now. It sucks that we lost such a golden opportunity to control our own destiny, but that's the way things go.
Texas Tech, you had a great run. I'm not trying to just rain down on your party. But I had to shake my head at the delusions of grandeur many Tech fans were having. Even if Tech pulled this one out (which I knew was unlikely), won the Big 12 over Mizzou, and went to the MNC, I'd put big money on the SEC champ they were going to face.
It's not over for Tech. They can still win the Big 12 if Oklahoma falters in Stillwater, which is possible. However, it is now almost impossible they'll make the national title game. USC or Penn State is going ahead of them.
I was waiting for the bubble to burst. I did not think it'd be so cruelly violent, but Stoops is clearly sending a message. Unfortunately, the Horns may not be allowed to answer the challenge.