Forgive people if they haven’t quite thought of the Texas Tech Red Raiders as a legit player in the Big 12 title race. It’s understandable if you’re not sold on TTU. Look no further than last season when Tech was 5-2, 2-1 in Big 12 play and fresh off an upset win against the then number one team in the country, the Oklahoma Sooners. The Red Raiders would then lose five straight and missed out on bowl eligibility. The hesitation is certainly fair, but somehow this year’s defense has been the best in the conference and the collapse of 2011 doesn’t seem very likely to repeat itself.
Senior quarterback Seth Doege has been one of the most efficient players behind center in the Big 12 this season. This offense rises and falls with Doege, and he is the key for Texas Tech to make a push towards a BCS selection. Doege has the fourth best passer rating in the conference, averaging 315 yards per game and he’s third in the conference in total offense.
After throwing for seven TDs and 318 yards last week against the TCU Horned Frogs and slinging out 499 yards and six TDs in a blowout win against the West Virginia Mountaineers the week prior, his name has now been mentioned in the Heisman race.
Doege has already matched his touchdown total from last season, but can he sustain the success? Doege has been impressive, however, much like Geno Smith, the numbers have come against pretty weak defenses. four of the units Doege has faced are ranked 80th or lower in passing defense.
TCU is better at 54th, but Doege took care of business. Doege and even the defense received a wake-up call against the Sooners earlier this month. Oklahoma’s squad, ranked 9th in passing defense, forced three interceptions and only allowed Tech to put up 20 points.
You may have heard about the showdown between Texas Tech and the Kansas State Wildcats this Saturday, but Texas Tech might be able to shake up not only the Big 12 race, but the BCS title race as well. As much as the Wildcats have been able to play mistake free football, 7th nationally in turnover margin, they don’t match-up well against the TTU passing attack. K-State ranks a few spots lower than the Horned Frogs in passing defense.
If Doege and the defense can get past Kansas State, in terms of the passing defenses they will face the rest of the year, it will all be downhill. The Oklahoma State Cowboys, who rank 75th nationally, are the highest ranked passing defense Doege will face.
The Red Raider defense should have learned how not to handle a quality quarterback when Landry Jones got the better of them and have proved they can handle a high-powered offense when they destroyed WVU. It will still be difficult to come out as Big 12 champs because the Sooners still only have one conference loss and hold the tie-breaker over TTU.
If Seth Doege can lead the Red Raiders to a victory on Saturday, his Heisman chances, along with Tech’s BCS hopes, will be very much alive with a favorable remaining schedule to capitalize on.