It's three games. It's three games against competition that nobody would mistake for contenders in any BCS conference. There was one FCS opponent, another playing its first season at the FBS level, and a third that has won a grand total of three games the past three seasons.
Texas Tech's defense should dominate the teams they've lined up against through the season's first three weeks. The biggest difference this year as opposed to the first two seasons under Tommy Tuberville, they did dominate and that hasn't usually been the case.
Tech's defense so far in 2012 has given up only two touchdowns (the 3rd was a kickoff return). They are allowing just 113 yards on the ground and 160 yards overall per game. Even with their offense scoring at a frantic pace at times, their opponents have run on average only 52 plays a game. They've forced 13 three-and-outs and their opponents have punted 19 times if my math is correct.
There's depth on the defensive line that now goes five deep in the interior after true freshman Michael Starts made his debut Saturday night with a sack and three tackles. Safeties Cody Davis and D.J. Johnson are experienced and have gotten off to solid starts and are currently leading the team in tackles. Junior college transfer Will Smith has immensely improved a linebacking group that looked lost last season.
Saturday night the Red Raiders beat New Mexico, 49-14, giving up just 127 yards, cutting in half what Texas allowed against the Lobos the week prior. Take out one 17 play, 79 yard drive New Mexico put together in the second quarter and that number falls to 48 yards given up for the entire rest of the game. Last season against New Mexico, the Lobos went for 337 yards against Tech's defense.
Another common opponent from last year's schedule, Texas State, rushed for 256 yards in Lubbock. This year on their home field, just 129 yards.
The Red Raiders third opponent, Northwestern State, didn't even crack the century mark in the season's first game totaling 84 yards all night.
There's little question the competition is going to get much tougher in a hurry with Iowa State, Oklahoma, and West Virginia up next on the schedule. And just because Tech's defense under new coordinator, Art Kaufman, shut down three weak offense's doesn't mean they're going to go pitch a shutout against West Virginia when they come to town.
But the reality is, they don't have to. If you haven't noticed, Tech's offense happens to be pretty good. Seth Doege is one of the most underrated college quarterbacks in the country. Their receivers are very good and the running game is picking up some serious steam with Eric Stephens looking better and better every week. Tech's offense is going to score points.
What Texas Tech needs out of their defense is to keep them in games, something they didn't do in 2011. Six different team's scored at least 40 points against the Red Raiders last season. Even in three of their wins, they gave up 34, 34 and 38 points. A great offense can only overcome so much.
It's early in the season, too early to be jumping to any major conclusions about what the rest of the season holds for Texas Tech. Tuberville said following the New Mexico win they'll likely be underdogs in the remaining nine games. While he must have forgotten they play Kansas, that may actually be true for the other eight games.
But if their defense can play anywhere near level they have through three games, betting on the underdog may be a solid play in Texas Tech's case. And if their defense can continue the upward trend, the Big 12 standings could look much different than what many expected just three weeks ago. Big if's, yes, but the early results couldn't look much better.