GUEST POST: This Day in History: Tech Downs UT, Red Raider Football Reaches Current Zenith

On this day in November 2008, Texas Tech played a football game.

I normally don’t do this, but Connor sent this post in last week, what would normally be plenty of time for a typical human to get things done, but with my life as busy as it is, I just didn’t have time to get to it. Connor asked if he could post this given today’s historical significance for Texas Tech football. There were lots of photos in the post, photos that I simply can’t publish, but you shouldn’t need those to remember that fateful day.

By: Connor Frankhauser

Granted, a football game (even one with its own Wikipedia page) itself isn’t that special in Texas where thousands of high schools, 23 NCAA programs and two NFL teams duke it out on Any Given Friday, Saturday and Sunday each autumn.

But on this day in November 2008, things were different. We know this because the post-game fracas resulted in the goal posts being torn down, as sure a sign of a good win in Lubbock as any.

Any pretense that this game would be ordinary was belied by the rankings; No. 7 Texas Tech and No. 1 University of Texas, Austin. It was perhaps the biggest show in this part of the world since Buddy Holly opened for Elvis in the 50s. For Elvis haters, it was the hottest ticket since Sir Elton John opened the United Spirit Arena in the year 2000.

If you live in Lubbock, Texas chances are you have seen a picture of a 21-year old Michael Crabtree caught in the act of improbably shedding two defenders from the then No.1-ranked University of Texas to score the go-ahead points.

And if you were born in Lubbock, that picture was the centerpiece of the mobile over your crib- even if you were born in the 90s. The awesomeness of Crabtree’s play somehow shreds the laws of space and now exists in 1994. At least it does in my head.

Let’s cue the winning play again.

(Trigger Warning: May cause UT fans nausea and slight headaches curable by purchasing more Longhorn-branded merchandise from Academy).

Shakespearian tragedy ensued. As the goalposts fell, so to did the Red Raider’s fortunes. Sure there was a convincing home win versus Oklahoma State the next week while Tech held the No. 2 ranking.

But beating the Oklahoma teams never has had the panache that beating teams based in the Lone Star State has, despite both big state schools in Oklahoma having top-notch football programs. Besides, a big loss to OU in Norman and subsequent setbacks assured Tech would not find itself in contention to be ranked Number One at any time in 2008.

Only one year later Mike Leach, pirate enthusiast and offensive genius extraordinaire, was made to walk the plank after a controversial series of events involving alleged inappropriate treatment of Adam James, son of former SMU and New England Patriots running back (and former ESPN college football analyst) Craig James.

Tech football has been chugging along since and seems to have found a new identity under former Raider Kliff Kingsbury. Even still, the wispy windy Lubbock air pervading Jones Stadium on Saturdays after November 1, 2008 hasn’t quite been the same.

And the goalposts sure have gone a long time without being uprooted.


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