For decades, Texas Tech played against the rest of its in-state academies in the Southwest Conference. With one of the most fertile recruiting states in the country and a football-crazed populace, the conference was full of fierce competition built around the heavyweight program at the University of Texas. The Red Raiders hopped on board in 1956, a latecomer to the party, and decades after a different heavyweight program had come and gone from the SWC: Oklahoma.
When the Red Raiders piloted their pirate ship to the Big 12 in 1996, they took most of their SWC brethren along for the ride, and found several new big-time programs on their annual schedule, most notably the Oklahoma Sooners. A member of the SWC in the 1910s, well before Texas Tech joined, these were two programs that only met for the f irst time in 1992, despite decades of combined competition in college football and only a few hundred miles of distance from each other on Route 70.
Initially, Oklahoma dominated the rivalry, winning 10 of the first 12 games in the series. But around the time former coach Mike Leach's patented high-flying offense took off, the games became a little more competitive. In their last 10 games, Oklahoma holds a razor-thin 6-4 advantage, and the last two matchups in particular have featured plenty of intrigue.
In 2013, the Red Raiders traveled to Norman with an undefeated squad ranked No. 10 in the nation. The 17th-ranked Sooners would have their hands full with Tech's hotshot new coach, Kliff Kingsbury, calling the shots.
Sue Ogrecki/Associated Press
But the Sooners broke out with several big plays, including a 76-yard TD pass that was the highlight of a day when the two schools combined for nearly 1,000 total yards. Heading into the fourth quarter, Oklahoma clung to a 28-24 lead, which they extended with a TD run with just over 11 minutes left. The Red Raiders answered with a touchdown run of their own, but Oklahoma iced the game with a late field goal to hand Kingsbury and Texas Tech their first loss of the season, 38-30.
Last season, the Red Raiders jumped out to a 21-7 lead just a few minutes into the third quarter in Lubbock. A 64-yard touchdown run gave Oklahoma back the momentum, and though the Red Raiders would lead 24-21 in the fourth, that's when the Sooners turned on the afterburners. A flurry of three unanswered touchdowns in a span of nine minutes took Oklahoma over the top, in another game defined by high scoring and big comebacks.
This year's clash should feature plenty of points. The Red Raiders have the third-ranked offense in the nation, scoring a blistering 49 points per game en route to a 5-2 record. The Sooners are not far behind at No. 13 in the nation, scoring 40 points per game while chasing the undisputed Big 12 championship that has eluded them since 2010.