LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) -Texas Tech breezed through its nonconference schedule, winning four games by an average of 32 points.
Now, the Red Raiders get a chance to see just how good they really are - four ranked opponents, four weeks, a month that will determine their national title chances.
It starts Saturday when eighth-ranked Texas Tech (7-0, 3-0) heads to No. 19 Kansas.
``This is the time of season that's going to make or break us,'' Texas Tech guard Brandon Carter said. ``Nothing in the past really matters at this point, and what's ahead of us is really our biggest competition. We are all excited and ready to go.''
It won't be easy.
a perennial Big 12 doormat, has become one of the elite teams in the country. Last year's 12-1 season and Orange Bowl victory provided the Jayhawks with a surge of confidence.
After Kansas, the Red Raiders have a home game against top-ranked Texas, which manhandled then-No. 1 Oklahoma two weeks ago, followed by a Nov. 8 game against No. 7 Oklahoma State. The season-defining stretch ends just before Thanksgiving with a game at Norman against the fourth-ranked Sooners.
By the time the Red Raiders face Baylor in their regular-season finale Nov. 29, they'll either be getting ready for their first Big 12 championship game or wondering how pressure tripped them up yet again.
``We've got the talent, the experience, the coaching - we've got everything in place that we need to be in place,'' Texas Tech tackle Rylan Reed said. ``Now it's just going out there and getting it done.''
Texas Tech has had its problems with games like this in the past. Whether it's looking ahead at what might be or an inability to handle the pressure, the Red Raiders have a penchant for losing just when things start getting good.
They did it last year, a 6-1 start derailed by consecutive losses to Missouri and Colorado, and in 2005, a deflating 35-point loss to Texas quashing a 6-0 start.
There have been plenty of other times, giving the Red Raiders a can't-win-the-big-one tag that they'd like to shake.
through some highs and lows around here,'' Tech safety Darcel McBath said. ``We know what can happen when we've been distracted. I've been here for four years. Sometimes, we'd be ranked one week and then we'd lose. We know how it is.''
As for this week's game, the Red Raiders figure to put up more big offensive numbers.
Texas Tech's passing game is the best in the nation at 418.4 yards per game, and an improved running game - 138.6 yards per game - has made the Red Raiders almost impossible to defend.
Kansas has had its share of problems defensively this season, missed assignments and poor tackling leading to big plays.
Against South Florida on Sept. 12, the Jayhawks allowed Matt Grothe to throw for 338 yards and two touchdowns, leading to a 37-34 loss. The problems arose again last week, when Oklahoma's Sam Bradford picked Kansas apart, throwing for a school-record 468 yards and three touchdowns in the Sooners' 45-31 win.
Suffer the same breakdowns against Texas Tech and the Jayhawks could see the scoreboard roll like the national debt clock.
``We can be doing a lot of things better,'' Kansas safety Justin Thornton said. ``We've got to be assignment sound. We've had way too many mental busts and blown coverages, things we'll have to get corrected if we're going to compete in this league.''
Kansas' best chance figures to be matching the Red Raiders score for score.
certainly have the offense to do it.
Kansas has the sixth-best passing offense at 335.4 yards per game and is 14th in total offense at 460.8 yards. Quarterback Todd Reesing is having another spectacular season, completing more passes per game (27) than all but three other quarterbacks in the country.
Backup quarterback Kerry Meier has proven to be quite a receiver, ranking fifth in the nation with 8.14 catches per game, and Dezmon Briscoe is coming off a career day, setting school records for catches (12) and receiving yards (269) against Oklahoma.
Look at those numbers - along with a 13-game home winning streak - and it's easy to understand why the Jayhawks are 2-point favorites despite facing a team that's 15 spots higher in the BCS rankings.
``We're prepared to score some points because I know it's tough to stop that offense they have,'' Reesing said. ``We've got to be prepared to score more points than they do.''

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