West Virginia is 4-0, emerging from a second bye week in the season's first six weeks with a chance to make noise in the Big 12. Baylor and Oklahoma look, for the moment, like the league's top contenders, but West Virginia joins Baylor in not having a loss, and it'd stay in strong position if it could beat Texas Tech on Saturday in Lubbock.
Doing that won't be easy. Texas Tech can't play defense much at all, but the Red Raiders can go touchdown-for-touchdown with anybody and are 3-0 at home, including 2-0 against power conference opposition. West Virginia has a strong defense, but that unit will need to play one of its best games to give a mediocre offense a chance.
Both teams have tough slates upcoming, which only puts a premium on winning here. (Of course, every Big 12 schedule ultimately features the same teams, but Texas Tech and WVU both happen to face a few tough ones in a row.) Someone will go into that stretch on a good note, and someone else won't.
How to watch, stream, and listen
TV: Noon ET, FS1. The broadcasters are Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, and Shannon Spake.
Radio: West Virginia and Texas Tech
Online streaming: Fox Sports GO
Spread: Texas Tech opened favored by 1 at home, but West Virginia's now a narrow favorite at most places.
Make friends: Get to SB Nation’s team blog chats for this game at Viva the Matadors (for Tech fans) and The Smoking Musket (for WVU fans).
Three big things to know
1. Texas Tech can out-throw you. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has 20 touchdowns against four interceptions, gets sacked on just 4 percent of his dropbacks, and averages 10 yards per every ball that leaves his hand. Sixteen Tech players have caught at least one pass. The Red Raiders aren't about blowing you out of the water with huge plays, but they move the ball through the air with a gnawing efficiency. It can be incredibly hard to stop.
2. But the Raiders probably can't stop you. The Texas Tech defense is genuinely horrid, as it's been in the past. It doesn't do enough to limit efficiency or explosiveness, either on the ground or in the passing game. You can beat Texas Tech's defense with any number of approaches, and that's a welcome development for a WVU offense that's only putting up 29 points per game, the worst figure since 2013.
3. West Virginia's identity isn't the same now. The Mountaineers developed a reputation as a better offensive team than a defensive team in Dana Holgorsen's first few years in Morgantown, but that's not really true anymore. While the offense has lagged, the defense has thrived, giving up a 20 points-per-game figure so far that would stand as the program's best since 2010. Advanced metrics don't like West Virginia's defense as much as the results so far, however, and Texas Tech should be a good test for how good it actually is.