Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Why Week 12 matters in the Big 12
By David Ubben
So, no premier matchups in Week 12? Still twiddling your thumbs for two weeks while Oklahoma and Oklahoma State win?
No worries. Texas Tech has a chance to continue one of America's most impressive streaks on Saturday. Its trip to Missouri matters a whole lot, with only a game against Baylor at Cowboys Stadium left on the schedule.
Texas Tech's been eligible for a bowl game every season since 1993, a span of 18 seasons. "Philadelphia," starring Tom Hanks, "The Fugitive," and "Schindler's List" all came out that year.
Things haven't gone well for Tommy Tuberville and Texas Tech since their win over Oklahoma.
Ace of Base recorded "The Sign." "The Bodyguard" soundtrack was the year's top-selling album.
Translation: It's been awhile; much longer than any Big 12 team.
To keep that streak going, though, the Red Raiders must win as 17-point underdogs at Mizzou on Saturday.
The team met on Sunday and didn't talk much football. The focus? Keeping motivation through one of the most difficult stretches anyone in the locker room has ever endured.
"We’ve just gotta have something positive happen to us," coach Tommy Tuberville said. "It looks like everything’s gone against us, but as I told the players, we’ve got to make something happen, so that’s pretty much how we’re handling it going into these two games."
The Red Raiders knocked off then-No. 3 Oklahoma, ending the Sooners' 39-game home winning streak. That's Tech's only win in its past six games.
"We’ve not had any consistency on either side of the ball," Tuberville said.
Receivers have been moved to cornerback. The team's leading rusher, Eric Stephens, was shelved for the season after dislocating his knee against Texas A&M.
"We’ve tried to patch the holes here and there, and pretty much we’ve been discovered in some areas by some of these real good teams we’ve played," Tuberville said.
Now, the task ahead of Texas Tech is discovering the early-season mojo that produced the win over Oklahoma and near-misses against Kansas State and Texas A&M.
Otherwise, next year will be the beginning of what the program hopes is another historic streak.