Shocking at least one nationally-ranked team per season is becoming a habit for Tommy Tuberville's Red Raiders.
West Virginia, after enduring a 49-14 beating Saturday in Lubbock, was put on the list of Tuberville-led Tech upsets joining the likes of then-No. 3 Oklahoma (2011) and then-No. 14 Missouri (2010). Though not the case in 2010, Tech then suffered through
a series of major letdowns following its win in Norman, Okla., last season, ending its schedule with a five-game losing streak to finish bowl ineligible.
Two of those losses saw Tech's defense allow a program-worst 66 points.
"Well, I hope we learn from last year because we pretty much around the same part of the season did the same thing," Tuberville said. "We did something nobody else thought we could do and we didn't win another game.
"We've got to get focused on every day of what we've got to do to get better."
One of the first steps Tech took toward blocking out distractions was by canceling post-practice interviews this week. The Red Raiders host a weekly news conference Mondays, and follows up with media availability Tuesday and Wednesday after practice. Though
a reason was never stated, it is likely that move was taken so the team could focus solely on the task at hand — a trip to No. 23 TCU (BCS) on Saturday.
It does not help that the Red Raiders, at No. 18, have earned their highest ranking in the AP Poll since 2008, when the program was ranked No. 2 at one point. Tech earned a No. 21 ranking during the 2009 season after beating then-No. 15 Nebraska in Lincoln,
More importantly, though, is the Red Raiders' No. 17 ranking in the BCS standings — and that is what the Horned Frogs will be eyeing down, considering a win Saturday would likely vault them into the Top 20.
Aware of the bullseye placed squarely on his team, Tuberville said his team needs to continue playing like the hunter, and not accept the fact that it is the hunted.
"We're a better team than we were last year, but we're also a target," Tuberville said. "When you're ranked as high as we are now and people see what you've done, you're going to get their 'A' game."
By Jose Rodriguez — Special to the Star-Telegram