Getting to know U(niversities): Texas Tech University

Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

A new conference home for TCU means that there are a whole host of new teams to be aware of. Gone are the BYUs and New Mexicos of the world, and back are the teams that the last few generations of TCU graduates wouldn't be familiar with, but the generations before knew all too well. This week we're renewing our acquaintance with the Red Raiders of Texas Tech, so make the jump and let's find out the secrets of our friends from the far west.

Tale of the Tape: Texas Tech University (I was almost certain that the full name would have been Texas Technical University, but nope- just Texas Tech. I'm learning already!)

Location: Lubbock, Texas

Stadium: Jones AT&T Stadium, named for donors Clifford and Audrey Jones, with SBC/AT&T thrown on at a later date after the telecom giant helped fund the stadium renovations.

Overall Record: 524-405-32. Solid record for the Techsters, not as many wins as TCU/Baylor/Texas and the like, but a lot fewer losses than most major teams due to not playing as many seasons.

Championships: Eleven conference championships (9 Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association, 2 Southwest Conference), 1 Division Championship (Big 12)

Conference History: Independent from 1925-1931, joined the Border Conference in 1932-1955, joined the Southwest Conference in 1956-1995, joined the Big 12 in 1996.

Traditions: The Masked Raider mascot was the first mascot in the NCAA to ride on horseback (which is kind of neat), they have the giant bell "Big Bertha" which they ring at home games (You've no doubt seen an image or perhaps even two of people ringing it), throwing tortillas and the guns up hand sign- the hand sign most likely to be unknowingly duplicated by young children at play, and of course a statue of Will Rogers riding his horse into the sunset... with the horse's rump pointed at College Station.

Rivals: Texas in the Battle for the Chancellor's Spurs, Texas A&M, and TCU in the West Texas Showdown. I was somewhat surprised that we're listed as a Tech rival as they and A&M are the two teams I remember consistently kicking our butts in the 80s and 90s, but the series is fairly tight overall and it definitely brings a lot of energy out of the TCU fans as well as the (very large) number of Tech alumni who call Fort Worth home. Tech has a fairly one-sided rivalry with the University of Texas (as all universities in Texas do) but they do manage to gum important things up for the Longhorns enough for them to be considered a worthy rival. The A&M series is an interesting one, because if you talk to an aggie fan (which I don't recommend) you'll end up hearing quite a lot about how Tech is beneath them and their only true rival is Texas and so forth. These fans were the same ones who went absolutely mad with glee when A&M beat Tech in OT in 2004 (one of Fran's best moments as A&M coach) breaking a three game losing streak to the raiders... only to promptly be back to talking about how A&M is "Tech's super bowl" as Tech blew out the aggies the next four years. In all fact, Tech is probably as close as A&M has to a real even rivalry (as opposed to the little brother complex). The overall series is close with A&M dominating in the early years and Tech going significantly over .500 against the Aggies since 1957, and with two of the more excitable fanbases in college football I'm frankly sadder to see this series end than I am to see the Lone Star Showdown fizzle out.

You may remember them from such TCU games as: Did you know we had (have?) a travelling trophy with Texas Tech? It apparently was around in the days before Tech joined the SWC, but I can't seem to find a picture of it anywhere. That out of the way, we've had a number of game against the Red Raiders with Texas Tech leading the overall series 28-23-3. As to particular games you may remember, personally one of my earliest memories is of Tech quarterback Jason Clemons throwing a hail mary to beat TCU with no time left on the clock in 1992, the feeling of that loss sticks in my gut even to this day. More recently you may remember that amazing feeling in Amon Carter Stadium when we last clashed with the Red Raiders in 2006, holding Mike Leach's squad without a touchdown for the first time in his Tech career. There was probably another game that other people may remember from the 00s, but all I remember is jumping out to a 21-0 lead. I'll just assume we won handily, and to anyone who wishes to say otherwise... la-la-la-la I can't hear you.

Have they been looking at other conferences?: Tech itself hasn't been looking, but it's certainly been included in every conference realignment scenario that involved Texas. The reason was brought to light in an interview with Ohio State president Gordon Gee, who mentioned that Texas would be happy to listen to what the Big Ten had to offer... but that they had a "Tech Problem". As a result, Tech has found itself rumored to the Pac 12 numerous times, as well as to the ACC. More than any university in the Big 12 other than Texas and Oklahoma, Tech can feel secure that it will definitely be a part of a major conference no matter how future realignment may shake out.

What else is "need to know" about Texas Tech University: They have alums everywhere. Living in Fort Worth most of my life, I saw more Tech flags and met more Tech fans than I did any other university apart from TCU. Even now down in Australia I'd say Tech is the fifth most frequent university apparel I see (after Michigan, North Carolina, USC and BYU). When you can't be in the opposite hemisphere from Lubbock without bumping into a Tech grad, I'd say they're a dedicated bunch.

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