Be vengeful or be oblivious.
Those are among the separate qualities that have lifted Baylor and Texas Tech to the Big 12’s top positions in the rankings.
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The first BCS standing revealed Sunday listed Baylor (6-0) eighth and Tech (7-0) 10th.
Not bad for the teams picked to finish fifth and seventh in the Big 12 in the preseason media poll.
Granted, schedules for both have been favorable. The only ranked opponent between them was TCU, ranked No. 24 when Tech beat the Horned Frogs last month.
But they’ve also found motivation in different places.
“We’re not a well-dressed football team. We’ve been weathered a bit,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “It establishes humility and hunger.”
Meaning that despite three straight bowl seasons, Baylor still isn’t seen among the league’s elite, at least to Briles. It’s a form of underdog mentality the Bears will take into the second half of the season when they meet three ranked teams in the next four weeks and end the year against Texas.
As for the Red Raiders, what they don’t know won’t hurt them.
“Rankings don’t mean anything to us,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “It’s just on to the next opponent.”
Which is Oklahoma, on the road. Kingsbury, a former Tech quarterback, made his playing debut against the Sooners and helped lead the Red Raiders to a victory in 1999. Bob Stoops was in his first year in Norman and the innovative Mike Leach, who became the Red Raiders’ head coach the next year, was OU’s offensive coordinator.
“That was my favorite start ever because it was coach (Spike) Dykes last game,” Kingsbury said. “That team rallied around me and around him and found a way to get a win against a very good OU team.”
Potent offenses also have something to with the teams’ success. They rank 1-2 in scoring, with the Bears averaging 64.7 points and the Red Raiders 41.1.