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Texas Tech, Say Hello to Number Two

I’ve got to admit. Even after Texas Tech stomped Texas 39-33 on Saturday night, I was worried that the Red Raiders would get shafted in the BCS rankings. After all, Penn State was still undefeated. As was Alabama. And Florida had just laid a whipping on Georgia.

So surely the BCS ranking system would find another way to screw with Texas Tech.

Even with Saturday night’s game being ABC’s national game of the week. And even after Tech stormed to the 22-6 halftime lead over the number one ranked Texas Longhorns. Even after Tech displayed a defense that was unknown to most of the country, and revealed the existence of a running game that kept the UT defense honest.

But even after all of that, I still felt the BCS would find a way to screw over the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Thankfully, I was wrong.

But first Tech had to win the game. And it did so by storming out to a big first half lead over the so-called best team in the country. The Longhorns did get back into the game, scoring 27 second half points and taking the 33-32 lead with 1:28 left in the game. But then Tech quarterback Graham Harrell went back to work, leading the Red Raiders 62 yards in only six plays and throwing a 28-yard touchdown pass to standout receiver Michael Crabtree with one second left in the game to give Tech the victory.

Harrell went 36-for-53 for 474 yards and two touchdowns. Crabtree finished with ten receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown. And after Longhorn QB Colt McCoy went a pedestrian 20-for-34 for only 294 yards, two TDs, and an interception, the Heisman Trophy race suddenly became wide open.

As for the BCS poll, well, it came to its senses, putting Texas Tech at number two, behind only Alabama but ahead of Penn State. So if the season was now finished, Tech and Alabama would be playing for the national title.

However, things are not all rosy for Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have three games left this season, but two of those games are against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, the number six and number nine teams in the BCS rankings. And as for the Longhorns, they didn’t fall far in the rankings. They’re ranked four, and they’re the highest ranked one-loss team, ahead of Florida, Oklahoma, and USC.

But who cares about the rest of those teams. Right now, only three teams count in the college football national title hunt. And one of those three is Texas Tech.

SOME MISCELLANEOUS COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTES:

The Rice Owls got the 49-44 victory over UTEP on Saturday night to go 6-3 on the season. Quarterback Chase Clement threw for 372 yards while completing 28 of 41 passes and throwing five touchdowns. He also ran for another TD. James Casey was the recipient of 12 of those passes for 142 yards and three touchdowns.

But while the Owls are happy about the victory, they’re probably happier about the fact that the team, with the victory, clinched its second bowl game in three years. And this coming after Rice had gone over 40 years between bowl appearances.

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Texas Tech / Oklahoma State is not the only big game this week. The Thursday night matchup between TCU (9-1) and Utah (9-0) has some big ramifications toward the BCS bowl game lineup. Right now, TCU, Utah, and Boise State (8-0) – all non-BCS conference schools -- are all ranked in the Top 12 of the BCS, and a non-BCS conference school has to be in the top 12 of the BCS to make a BCS bowl game.

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The winner of this game will more than likely make one of the BCS games. And frankly, I’m really hoping multiple non-BCS schools are in the top 12 because I really hate this system and I like to see it screwed with as much as possible.

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After Saturday’s loss, the Michigan Wolverines will not be qualifying for a bowl game for the first time in 33 years, which was the longest such streak in the nation. Amazingly, Texas A&M, after its 24-17 win over Colorado, and with a record of 4-5, is still actually in the running to qualify for a bowl.

I wouldn’t count on it though, Aggie fan. To get the six wins, the Aggies still have to get past Oklahoma and Texas. So I wouldn’t be counting on seeing the Aggies in a bowl game this year. – John Royal

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