Four FIVE times this year, and, well, every year, NU plays an out-of-conference opponent. The question arises: who are these guys? Some people only want to know who they are in a football sense, but, to truly understand our opponents on the gridiron, you have to know where they come from, so football strategy can wait. I plan on getting to know these universities a little bit better with posts on each college, mainly with info gleaned from their wikipedia pages. It also serves the dual purpose of fulfilling my mission of pissing off every opponent fanbase NU plays.
This bowl season's victim: The Texas Tech Red Raiders
Where: Lubbock, Texas. Voting research shows that Lubbock, the pride of the gigantic arid cotton fields that constitutes the big ol' square flat northwestern regions of Texas, is the second-most conservative city in the United States. (Right behind Noabortionville, Kansas.) Basically, this means you couldn't buy alcohol in a store there until last year and that every year there's something called the National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration in Lubbock. (Yes, it's a symposium. For cowboys.) Lubbock is home to the recently founded National College Baseball Hall of Fame, probably because of Texas Tech's rich baseball tradition, which is why no Texas Tech players or coaches are in the Hall. The most famous Lubbocker is Buddy Holly, the 50's rocker famous for dying and looking just like Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo.
Size: 25,467 undergrads, or 3.03 Northwesterns. Hoooooooo doggy, that's a lot of Red Raiders.
Mascot: At first, Texas Tech was known as the Matadors, which is a really badass name that somebody else needs to use. However, since 1936, the school has gone by the Red Raiders. Personally, I also think this nickname is badass, mainly for two reasons: the first is Mike Leach's obsession with pirates and suggestion that Texas Tech students go to pirate school. The second is the fact that a dude on a horse - the masked rider - rides around the field prior to every home game. However, not all schools let the Masked Rider accompany along the Red Raider football team, so the school concocted a really dumb mascot, named "Raider Red" - get it, the team name is the Red Raiders, the mascot's name is those same words but backwards! - which is essentially a guy in a Yosemite Sam costume. Texas Tech fans like to make a finger guns gesture they call "Guns Up", which is basically just Gilbert Arenas or anybody going "PEW PEEEEW PEW" and therefore is not intimidating to anybody at all. I like Mike Leach more than the average Texas Tech fan, it seems.
Mascot if I ran the school: Love the Red Raiders things, for the most part. Pew pew peeeeeew! I'd probably just make it Mike Leach. Love that guy. Although the Texas Tech Mike Leaches wouldn't be a very good team name.
Notable alums: Slim pickins on the list of Texas Tech alums. (Not to be confused with Slim Pickens, the western actor who did not attend Texas Tech.) The most notable person to attend Texas Tech is John Denver, who at the time went by the much less fun name of Henry Deutschendorf, before he embarked on a career of making crappy songs about states he wasn't from. (Sorry, Colorado and West Virginia.)
Current players in the NFL: 13. They have some sick wide receiving cred, having pumped out Wes Welker, Michael Crabtree, and the randomly good Danny Amendola of the Rams. For having two ex-Red Raiders skill position players on the Patriots - Welker and Sammy Morris - I hate Texas Tech.
Difference between the amount of times they have been to the NCAA tournament and the amount of times Northwestern has: 14. You probably know Red Raider basketball from Bob Knight's sorta unsuccessful tenure as coach. Truth is, they weren't that great under him - three tourney runs in eight years - and haven't been bad when he wasn't the coach - five trips to the Sweet 16, only one of which came under Knight. The school's only first round NBA pick was Tony Battie, who Red Raided his way to the 1996 Sweet 16 - no current ex-Techies in the league.
Elsewhere in Texas Tech sports: The big dogs of the Texas Tech sporting world are probably the Lady Raiders - yes, the Lady Raiders - on the basketball court, who won the 1993 NCAA Championship thanks to the dominant play of Sheryl Swoopes, the great women's basketball player who is widely known because she isn't sexually attracted to men, which is controversial because people are dumb. I wonder how well alternate sexualities go over in Lubbock, America's second most conservative city.
Raider Rash: The day NU's bowl announcement came out, I was chilling, watching football, and my friends from Texas were talking about meeting up in Dallas for the bowl. One guy from Dallas had already booked his flight back to school and couldn't make the game, and to boot, he pointed out that even if he hadn't, he wouldn't want to go to the game because, in his words "every single STD in Texas is going to be in that stadium." I asked him what he meant. He explained that Texas Tech is well known for having its own strain of various STD's because of the general dirty nature of the people that attend the school - a story my other Texan friends corroborated. (At this point, my girlfriend contributed by saying "hey, that's just like FSU!", a fact which it took most of my strength as a human being not to make cruel jokes about her knowing.) As far as i can tell, it's an urban legend: the only base to the rumor is that Lubbock has had high STD rates in the past. However, it's a really, really, catchy urban legend. "Raider Rash" and "Lubbock Clap" each have Urban Dictionary entries, each also has a corresponding rap song made by a Texas Tech student. Here's a quote from a 2005 student newspaper article.
"I thought, ‘What’s Tech infamous for?’ and I thought about STDs," Parker said. "Kind of a sad thing to be notorious for."
So there you have it. I won't go so far as to confirm or deny the truth to the rumors that Texas Tech has its own species of STD and that it is a venereal hellhole. But here's the thing: once you reach the point where pretty much everyone has heard a rumor that your school is a 25,000 person STD farm, does it even matter if its true or not?
Ill Will rest in peace: According to the wikipedia, one of the landmarks of the Texas Tech's campus is a gigantic statue of Will Rogers, the comic/actor/western Cowboy guy famous in the early part of the 20th century, riding his horse, Soapsuds, riding off into the sunset. Before every home football game, the statue is covered in red. In the student newspaper article mentioned above, it is mentioned that the rap song "Lubbock Clap" implied that one can get STD's by touching the Will Rogers statue. Kind of a big deal. So I assumed Will Rogers, you know, went to Texas Tech. Not true. So I assumed, he, like, lived in Lubbock. Nope, born in Oklahoma, died in Alaska, lived in New York and California much of his life. Turns out Rogers has no connection to the university, the statue is there merely because Rogers was known for his Wild West act and Lubbock is in West Texas. This, sirs, is going out of your way to fulfill the stereotype I have that everybody from Lubbock, Texas, rides a horse and uses the word "pardner" and orders sarsaparilla in his local saloon.
I'll break this down. Let's say there was a celebrity, well-known for his affiliation to the Midwest. Not Illinois, per se, just the Midwest. To make this comparison as painful as possible, let's use famed Cleveland resident Drew Carey as an example. Carey isn't from Chicago. But he's from the same rough geographic region, much in the same way Rogers never really lived in Texas but was associated with the Wild West, which was West Texas-y, sort of. Let's say Drew Carey tragically died. And when he died, a Northwestern donor paid the school a huge sum of cash to erect a giant statue of Drew Carey, hand aloft, as if to suggest that although Drew is gone, we can imagine his hand is directing a crappy improv comedy bit or revealing the price of the showcase showdown in a way crappier fashion than Bob Barker or reaching for a hoagie for all eternity, and they plopped this statue down right in the middle of Deering Field. Because Carey's spirit represents the Midwest, and that's where Northwestern is. And over the decades, as people gradually forgot who the hell Drew Carey was, Northwestern students grew to love the statue, and it became a campus fixture. Campus tourguides would point out "Drew" to prospies, "meet me by the statue of the fat guy", freshmen would say before heading out to registered parties in packs of 40. Before football games, opposing schools would throw paint on our giant statue of Drew Carey, and NU students would lovingly wash it off. Classrooms and dorms would rise and fall, presidents would be appointed and retire, frats get kicked off campus and come back, The Price is Right gets new host after new host, Pat Fitzgerald gets re-inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame - as a coach - but Drew would stand, ever present, never changing. By 2075, it's impossible to imagine the school without the giant statue of Drew Carey. It goes on postcards, alumni returning to campus snap their picture in front of it, reminiscing about their time at NU
I'm not saying having a giant statue of Will Rogers is dumb, Texas Tech. I'm just saying that its weird that one of the most notable things about your campus is a giant statue of a dude who died 75 years ago who had no affiliation with Texas Tech, and that my comparison is completely apt. You guys just think it over and come to your own conclusion.