By Betsy Blaney
LUBBOCK — Ever since 1993, Texas Tech has reached six wins to become bowl eligible. And for the past 11 years, the Red Raiders have been invited to play in a postseason game.
Both streaks could come to an end after Saturday’s game against No. 21 Baylor.
Since stunning then third-ranked Oklahoma in Norman last month, the Red Raiders have lost four in a row and are just 1-6 the past seven weeks. Even a win over the Bears, who last week beat Oklahoma 45-39, doesn’t assure Texas Tech a bowl berth.
Eight Big 12 teams already have six wins and there are only seven direct bowl bids tied to the conference. That number becomes eight if a Big 12 team plays for the national title.
Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said he’s not worried. He said he has heard that other conferences might not be able to fill their bowl bids.
“We’d like to have that opportunity for somebody to say, ‘We don’t have enough,’ but be eligible,” he said. “We’ll try to get to that point first. But I think there is going to be plenty.”
Baylor, which knocked off the Sooners when Bears quarterback Robert Griffin III led a final-minute scoring drive, need only look at Texas Tech to see what’s possible when a team upsets Oklahoma. The Red Raiders beat OU 41-38 to halt the Sooners home-win streak at 39.
Tuberville said that the week after beating Oklahoma was difficult.
“We hadn’t played like that since,” he said. “But it’s hard to get through the week without people calling you, talking to you, interviews for players and all those things, students. But they (Baylor) have got an older team than we do. I think they might be able to handle it a little bit better.”
Texas Tech has struggled against mobile quarterbacks and Griffin is surely that. He is leading an offense averaging 412.2 yards per game. He is personally averaging 357 passing yards and 55 on the ground for Baylor (7-3). The win over Oklahoma was mostly because of Griffin, Tuberville said.
“He did it himself, I mean, absolutely beat one of the better teams in the country by himself, up and down the field, taking advantage, running the ball,” he said. “He’s a heck of an athlete.”.
Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege remembers the game after the OU win well. Iowa State beat Texas Tech badly, 41-7, in Lubbock.
“At the time I thought we were over it,” he said. “I’m sure Baylor will be ready to play. They haven’t beaten us in a long time, and I feel like you have to respect us because of some of the games we have played.”
He understands the stakes but said he doesn’t feel added pressure.
“You would think that because it’s our last game and it’s a one-game season,” the junior quarterback said. “Whatever we need to do to figure out how to win this game, we’ll do it.”