Texas-Texas Tech: Big 12 Clash of the Titans

c dockensCorrespondent IOctober 27, 2008

Both the Texas Longhorns and the Texas Tech Red Raiders enter this Saturday's game undefeated. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 in the BCS, AP, and USA Today polls.

Texas, who enters this game No. 1, will try to preserve its Big 12 and national title hopes. Texas Tech is trying for its first victory over the Longhorns since 2002 and to pole vault from its No. 7 ranking into the top five.

Saturday's matchup is the most highly anticipated game between the two teams since they met in Austin in 2005, the last time both teams entered the game undefeated. Texas won that game 52-17 in a blowout.

The Red Raiders, the underdog for this matchup, is leading the fan vote on ESPN's College GameDay, 35 percent to 65 percent. So far it seems the fans' confidence that lies with Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree remains unperturbed by the ever-daunting task awaiting them Saturday—the Texas Longhorns.

Graham Harrell has been the motor for Texas Tech thus far this season, and there is no reason he should stop now. Harrell has thrown for 28 touchdowns in eight games this season and has only thrown five interceptions. Harrell averages a touchdown pass every nine completions.

Harrell throws the ball roughly 45 times a game, and at a 71 percent completion rate, that would result in about 31 completions and at least three touchdown passes a game. Harrell should be able to keep this up, seeing how Texas is ranked 110th against the pass out of 119 teams.

Harrell lit up the Nebraska secondary, throwing for two touchdowns and almost 300 yards, and Nebraska is ranked 78th against the pass, more than 30 spots better than the struggling Texas pass defense.

The success of Graham Harrell is interwound with fellow Red Raider Michael Crabtree. Crabtree is Harrell's favorite target, accounting for 60 of his 256 completions and 14 of his 28 touchdowns. Harrell and Crabtree may be one of the greatest QB-WR duos of all time.

The Red Raider run game, has been used sparingly, but remains effective. The Red Raiders run the ball an average of 25 times a game, over 8 games that is 200 carries, and on 200 carries Texas Tech has ran for 23 touchdowns, averaging a td every 9 carries.

Together, Harrell and Crabtree will attempt to provide Texas Tech with a force that will be impossible to stop for the Longhorn pass defense.

The Red Raider pass defense is less than impressive, but it is a bit better than the Longhorns' pass defense and ranks 98th. Fortunately for the Red Raiders, their run defense is 14th in the nation and will provide the Longhorns' ground game with a challenge.

Colt McCoy is the undisputed leader of the Longhorns. McCoy has only 44 incompletions in 242 pass attempts, meaning he has a completion percentage of 81.8 and a QB rating of 186.46. McCoy's phenomenal stats do not end there—he has 24 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

The Longhorn running game ranks 32nd, which is solid, but on artificial turf, which they will be playing on in Lubbock, the Longhorns rank 80th in the nation, averaging 122 yards. The Red Raider defense allows just 112 rushing ypg on artificial turf, a stat that doesn't bode well for the Longhorns. Despite the lackluster performance on artificial turf, Texas' run game has been a force to reckoned with. They run the ball an average of 40 times a game, and average about 3 rush tds a game.

It is no secret that the Texas pass defense is struggling, but this Saturday they will face the nation's top passing offense. The Longhorn defense that allows 265 ypg through the air will face an offense who passes on average for over 400 ypg.

What the Longhorns lack in pass defense they more than compensate for against the run. The Texas run defense allows just over 2.5 ypc on average, and has only allowed 3 rushing tds all season.

There are many indications that this Saturday's game between the two Texas titans will be a high-scoring affair, one that will keep fans on the edge of their seats, watching these two stellar offenses shred the opponent's defense, in a game that may not be decided in regulation.