No. 8 Texas is confident, but head coach Tom Herman cautioned the Longhorns not to buy into their national hype before Saturday's conference opener at Texas Tech.
Herman anticipates a big test in Lubbock when the Longhorns visit on Saturday in the Big 12 opener for each team.
The Longhorns, 59-3 winners over UTEP in their season opener, and the Red Raiders, who held off Houston Baptist 35-33 on Sept. 12, come into Saturday's game off an open week with matching 1-0 records.
From here until mid-December, neither team plays an opponent outside of the Big 12.
Texas coach Tom Herman reminded his team during the bye week that the Red Raiders will be a challenge. Erase all previous results, Herman told his club. The Longhorns (1-0) dominated UTEP in their easy win and Texas Tech struggled to put away Houston Baptist, which plays in the FCS.
Herman described the UTEP game as a "scrimmage."
Texas starters played about 30 snaps. Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 426 yards and tossed touchdowns to five different receivers in the first half.
"We understand this is a huge, huge test on the road," Herman said. "The level of competition ratchets up significantly. Just because a team won by two points in Week 1 doesn't mean they're not capable of beating you by 21 either. Let's not jump to too many conclusions here after one game and the craziest offseason in the history of college football. We haven't done anything yet. But our guys know what they're capable of...I do think there's a lot of confidence in (our) locker room."
The Red Raiders (1-0) have their own impressive signal-caller in Alan Bowman, who missed the second half of last season with shoulder injury. Bowman blitzed Houston Baptist for 430 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Texas Tech's season-opening victory.
Texas Tech coach Matt Wells said his team used the open week to get a little more physical in practice in preparation for the Longhorns.
"I like the response of our players - we came in and really put in some good work," Wells said Monday. "We've got to make some strides this week and obviously improve a lot between game one and game two.
The Red Raiders had a more than a dozen players miss the Houston Baptist game because of COVID-19. Wells expects his team to be closer to full strength against Texas.
Texas Tech running back SaRodorick Thompson was arrested Monday. He was charged stemming from a June 27 drag-racing incident in which he's accused of fleeing the scene while a fellow teammate was arrested.
Thompson was the Red Raiders' leading rusher last season and in Texas Tech's season-opening win. He rushed 22 times for 118 yards and two scores against Houston Baptist. Tech announced Monday that Thompson will play in Saturday's Big 12 opener against Texas.
Texas holds a 52-17 advantage over Texas Tech in the all-time series between the schools, and has won two of the past three matchups. The Longhorns have won five straight times in Lubbock, last losing in 2008.
Outside of last year's meeting in Austin -- a 49-24 win by Texas -- the in-state rivals have gone to the wire over the past five years. Four of those games determined by a touchdown or less.
--Field Level Media