- David Ubben, College Football
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LUBBOCK, Texas -- We ought to be used to this by now.
Top-five teams? Beware of Tommy Tuberville. Be very, very aware.
Last year, the Riverboat Gambler blitzed undefeated No. 1 Oklahoma, breaking the Sooners' 39-game winning streak at Owen Field.
Saturday, West Virginia finally cracked the top five for the first time this season.
Tuberville cut the Mountaineers' legs from right out underneath them with a dominant 49-14 win to move to 6-2 all-time against top-five teams. Where did it rank among Tuberville's all time wins?
"No. 1, No. 1," Tuberville said, before going back on his statement seconds later.
A 24-13 win over Iowa State two weeks ago didn't have the style points of Saturday's shellacking, but Tuberville said it ranked right up there, too.
"We've been struggling for an identity," he said. "This is good for the morale of the players and also the fans to kind of say, 'Hey, this group's pretty good. We've got to get behind them.' This truly is a team, a city, a university win [Saturday] because not a lot of people gave us a chance."
The same was true last year against Oklahoma, but after that win, Tuberville's Red Raiders lost the final five games of the season, falling to 5-7 and finishing below .500 for the first time since 1993. Tech has six games left on its schedule this time around, and it's moving on from another big win under Tuberville.
The task ahead of the Red Raiders is clear and the memory of the 41-20 loss to Oklahoma seems pretty fuzzy.
"I can't be any prouder for all of them. Last week was very disappointing. We knew it was a great football team we were playing," Tuberville said. "We've got a good team. We knew that going into the season. We're halfway through. We've had one blip on the screen. We're not going to celebrate this one past [Sunday]. We're going to go back to work and make sure to understand that if you win, you come back and work hard."
Tech learned that the hard way a year ago, but the future looks bright for the Red Raiders.
3dDavid M. Hale