College Football Corner: Texas Four-Step

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The eyes of Texas are probably a little bleary from its having to play four top 12 teams in four weeks.

But the No. 1 Longhorns have handled the first three challenges, dispatching then-No. 1 Oklahoma three weeks ago, then No. 12 Missouri, followed by a nail-biter last week over Oklahoma State, which came in ranked sixth.

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell
and wide receiver Michael Crabtree

This week's predicament is a trip to face the No. 7 Texas Tech Red Raiders (8-0).

Texas Coach Mack Brown is looking forward to the excitement in Lubbock, which hasn't hosted a game of this magnitude in, well, forever. Keep in mind that the Raiders have never finished a season ranked in The Associated Press Top 10.

"I remember the couple of times we've been out there, the students were out there on Thursday, and now I hear they've been out there since Tuesday already," he said at his weekly press conference. "They'll be pumped up and that's the atmosphere you want to play in as a college football player, for both teams."

Atmosphere aside, this game is vital for both teams with four Big 12 schools ranked in the BCS' top nine (remember, conferences can place on two schools into the 10 BCS bowl berths). Texas should still get a BCS bowl bid even if it loses Saturday, but it's now all about the national championship. Texas' remaining schedule favors a trip to the BCS title game with a win here.

Texas Tech still has a trip to Norman to face Oklahoma, so a loss to both the Longhorns and Sooners wouldn't be a shocker. The danger is a subsequent plunge in the polls and getting passed up by higher-profile Oklahoma State or Missouri for a Cotton Bowl bid, which still means something in Texas.

ESPN's College GameDay Built by The Home Depot ( HD) will be on hand Saturday to add to the excitement.

Here's a closer look at some top games Saturday:

( No. 1 Texas (-4) at No. 7 Texas Tech, 8 p.m. EDT, ABC): For the third week in a row, Texas and its Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Colt McCoy will face a highly ranked team that also features a premier quarterback. There was Oklahoma and Sam Bradford, Missouri and Chase Daniel, and Oklahoma State and Zac Robinson. McCoy emerged as the man in the first three games (although he did fumble late last week, giving Oklahoma State one last shot). Now it's Graham Harrell and Texas Tech. Harrell, the top-rated passer in the land, had a Heisman-worthy game against Kansas last week, completing 34 of 42 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns.

"They Texas Tech have been so good on offense every year that they weren't as good on defense," Brown said. "This year, they've got the whole package. They are playing really well on defense. I think one of the most significant changes is that they have gotten 20 sacks. They've only given up three sacks and they've gained 20."

Brandon Williams and McKinner Dixon have combined for 14 of those sacks. Corner's choice: Texas 38, Texas Tech 27

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