- David Ubben, College Football
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The Big 12 is the only conference with a ranked team taking part in every game on Saturday, but Texas Tech will travel to Fort Worth for one of two matchups between a pair of ranked teams. Fresh off last week's 28-point, fourth-quarter romp at Baylor, TCU crashed the BCS rankings and Texas Tech jumped to No. 17 after beating West Virginia by 35 points a week ago.
Who'll transform on Saturday? Texas Tech ... into a top-15 team.
The Red Raiders ran into an angry Oklahoma team two weeks ago, but turned heads last week by easily disposing of a West Virginia team that looked the part of a Big 12 co-favorite along with Kansas State.
"We're a better team than we were last year, but we're also a target. When you're ranked as high as we are now and people see what you've done, you're going to get their A‑game," coach Tommy Tuberville told reporters this week. "So we've got to bring our A‑game every week and just continue to improve."
Texas Tech's defense has gotten plenty of attention this year (TCU's banged-up offense will find out all about that on Saturday), but the Red Raiders have gotten the job done on both sides of the ball.
Tuberville's squad sits at 10th in the nation in total offense and fourth in total defense. They're the nation's only team in the top 10 of both stats and Tech is giving up less than four yards a play on defense while gaining almost seven a play on offense.
That's a recipe for success, and for Tuberville, it's been a recipe for getting off the hot seat. The memory of last year's five-win campaign gets hazier and hazier by the day and dreams of a first Big 12 title become clearer as the offense continues to produce and the defense showcases its reclamation project under new coordinator Art Kaufman.
The new challenge is keeping the momentum going after last year's five-game losing streak that led to postseason exile began with the biggest win at Tech in a long time, an upset of No. 1 Oklahoma.
"I hope we learn from last year because we pretty much around the same part of the season did the same thing. We did something nobody else thought we could do and we didn't win another game," Tuberville said. "We've got to get focused on every day of what we've got to do to get better."
That's happened this year, and it'll be on display against TCU when Texas Tech transforms and cracks the top 15 for the first time since 2008.
The Big 12 is the only conference with a ranked team taking part in every game on Saturday, but Texas Tech will travel to Fort Worth for one of two matchups between a pair of ranked teams.