I don't normally do this, but I want to encourage you all to go over to the Texas Tech blog with whom we did a blogger Q & A. It's a blog that puts ours to shame. We're working on that though. We've got something brewing that you're all going to love. Anyway, on with the preview.
We all know that Texas Tech is brilliant offensively and not too shabby on defense. However, one thing that cannot be talked about enough is their spacing on the offensive line. I really think that strategy will be what allows us to hang with them and ultimately win the game. Look, we're not going to win a shootout. I like our offense a lot too, but we're no Texas Tech. We're going to have to make their successful drives last a long time (by forcing them to convert on third downs instead of first downs). They're going to have some successful drives. This will not be like the Alabama-Texas Tech game a few years back. This Texas Tech team is too good for that.
But the strategy of spacing the offensive line out so much should allow us to exploit a mismatch with Peria Jerry. Sure, Texas Tech has an All-American guard, but Peria is an All-American as well, and I would put him up against any single offensive lineman. I just don't know that one player can block him. I think that he will get the jump on several plays before the center can get over to help whoever he's lined up against. Peria will get in the backfield, and Graham Harrell will end up on the ground. I do think that Greg Hardy and Kentrell Lockett will have some difficulty getting to Harrell though. They both thrive when they can beat OTs around the edge. While that may still happen, it is less likely considering the stances and positioning they'll be facing.
So now I'm going to break down the various attack/defense matchups:
Texas Tech Passing vs. Ole Miss Pass Defense: Strong Advantage TT
Texas Tech Running vs. Ole Miss Rush Defense: Slight edge to Ole Miss
Texas Tech O-Line vs. Ole Miss Defensive Line: Slight edge to Ole Miss
Ole Miss Passing vs. Texas Tech Pass Defense: Even
Ole Miss Running vs. Texas Tech Rush Defense: Slight edge to Ole Miss
Ole Miss O-Line vs. Texas Tech Defensive Line: Slight edge to Ole Miss
Now you can see why I think we'll win. I think that outside of the passing game, we have them in every facet of the game. Granted, I think that TT will have a field day passing against us, but I think that we'll get big plays when we need them to edge this one out. I also think that our defense won't fold when he completes passes. Harrell completed 41 passes against Baylor but only threw for 300 yards. I certainly don't want to see him complete 41 passes against us, but if he only throws for 300 yards, I'll be elated.
Speaking of the Baylor game, I think that game and the Oklahoma game will be used as evidence to our defense that Texas Tech CAN be stopped. You just have to take advantage of big plays. If we can get a key interception or two, we'll be good.
Offensive MVP: Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell
Defensive MVP: Ole Miss DT Peria Jerry
My Prediction: OM 38 - TT 35
That's my prediction. What's yours?