McKinner Dixon, a Texas Tech defensive end who was walking past Jones AT&T Stadium this week, stopped by "Raiderville" for a quick visit...

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LUBBOCK, Texas — McKinner Dixon, a Texas Tech defensive end who was walking past Jones AT&T Stadium this week, stopped by “Raiderville” for a quick visit.

“You want some pizza, baby?” hollered Kevin Pierson, also known as “The Mayor” of the tent village where hundreds of Tech students are camping out in anticipation of possibly the biggest game in the program’s history: tonight’s showdown with No. 1 Texas.

A pile of pizza boxes teetered on the table in front of Pierson. Students in jeans and T-shirts milled amid a maze of sleeping bags, coolers and extension cords, creating an only-in-college ambience.

“This week’s going by so slow,” Pierson complained to Dixon.

From the shadow of the stadium to Buddy Holly Avenue and Glenna Goodacre Boulevard, tonight can’t get here soon enough.

ESPN’s “College GameDay” is making its first visit, and No. 6 Texas Tech has the chance to move up in the national-title race. Tech and the Longhorns have 8-0 records.

“It’s the craziest I’ve ever seen it,” said Pierson, a graduate student from Houston who started the Raiderville tradition in 2003. “People can’t sleep. People are just excited. It’s obviously on the mind of every single Tech fan.”

The 53,000-seat stadium is sold out for a school-record fourth consecutive game.

The campers, who will be part of a students-only section numbering up to 12,000, hoped to get prime seats by lining up as early as Monday evening. But they are also longing for something else.

“We’re just ready for respect,” said Gabriel Garza, a junior from Mission, Texas, as he constructed his tent. “Tech’s always been like the stepchild to Texas. And I think that will change this year.”

Texas Tech hasn’t been 9-0 since 1938. No. 9 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Oklahoma remain on the team’s schedule.

Of the Texas game, Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said, “It’s great for the university, for the town, for our alumni … for West Texas. They’ll be talking about Texas Tech all Saturday morning [on TV]. …

“There’s not any way you can put a value on what it is. It’s priceless.”