When Texas Tech football fans think of Tech’s greatest rivals they immediately think of Texas A&M, Texas or possibly TCU. But the fact of the matter is that Baylor is the program Tech has played the most down through the decades, and it’s not even very close.
Beginning in 1929 the two teams have met 73 times on the gridiron, with the series, miraculously enough, knotted at 36-36-1. It runs uninterrupted since 1956. The series between Tech and Texas A&M runs second to the Baylor series with 68 football battles. And given that Baylor is in the Big 12 and the Aggies are now in the SEC, the gap between the series will only widen for the foreseeable future.
As is frequently the case between Texas Tech and its old Southwest Conference foes, the opposition, in this case Baylor, dominated the early days. Through the first 23 games of the series, the Bears held a commanding 17-5-1 advantage over the Red Raiders. It was during this period that Baylor established its longest winning streak, besting Tech 11 straight times from the years 1947 to 1960.
Baylor established its dominance immediately, winning the initial contest 34-0 (to this day this is BU’s largest margin of victory in the series), and the next one in 1931, 32-0.
The Bears were particularly tough on Tech in Waco. Indeed, the Red Raiders did not win their first game at Baylor until 1970! Prior to that breakthrough 7-3 victory, Tech had gone 0-12 on the banks of the Brazos. Parenthetically, the 10 total points scored in the 1970 game are the lowest combined point total in series history.
The turning point in the series came with Tech’s 34-22 win over Baylor in 1965, Donny Anderson’s senior season. Since the Golden Palomino’s heyday, the Red Raiders have controlled the series by a 31-19 tally.
During this era Tech has enjoyed two distinct periods of success. The first began in 1969 with a 41-7 thrashing of the Bears, and concluded with a 27-9 victory in 1978. The Red Raiders went 9-1 against Baylor during that stretch, with the only blemish a 17-10 loss in 1974.
The second and even more thoroughgoing period dominance commenced in 1996 with a 45-24 win during the inaugural season of the Big 12, and finished with a 45-28 victory in 2010. This 15-game span, of course, was almost coterminous with Mike Leach’s tenure on the High Plains. And indeed, The Pirate never lost to the Bears. Poignantly enough, his last game as Tech’s functioning head coach was the 20-13 win over Baylor in 2009.
During this period the Red Raiders hung in excess of 60 points on the Bears three straight times, going off for 63 points in 2001, 62 in 2002, and 62 once more in 2003. The 2002 game, which Tech won 62-11, is the largest margin of victory for either team in series history.
But nothing lasts forever, and Tech’s 15-game winning streak was ruptured in 2011 with a resounding 66-42 Baylor victory. This win kicked off a mini-streak of its own, being the first of four straight Bear wins over the Red Raiders.
Tech came mighty close to ending that streak last year, dropping a 48-46 decision, and get their next chance to end the ignominy this Saturday in Arlington.