Let me see if I understand what I'm reading on Internet message boards as well as hearing on radio talk shows.
For West Virginia University's football program to succeed in the Big 12, the defense must pick up its game or the Mountaineers will find themselves on the wrong side of some high-scoring affairs.
Yes, the Big 12 did possess some of the most explosive offenses in the country last season, led by Baylor, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, who were ranked second, third and fifth nationally in total offense. But, it also had its fair share of anemic offenses-Iowa State (No. 60), Kansas State (No. 101) and Kansas (No. 106).
Even mighty Texas proved to be 'human' when the Longhorns possessed the football as its 392.5 yards per game placed it seventh in the Big 12 and No. 54 nationally.
These were numbers amassed against a group of defenses that were anything but stellar in 2011.
Baylor's offense may have been the second best in the land, but its prevent unit, which surrendered an average of 488.5 yards per game, came in at No. 116. Add the loss of Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Bears will be hard pressed to improve on those numbers this fall.
In fact, six of WVU's newest conference rivals finished last season ranked among the worst defenses in the country. Kansas, which allowed a whopping 516.4 yards per game, came in at No. 120 while Texas Tech (485.6 ypg, No. 114), Oklahoma State (456.8, No. 107) and Iowa State (427.5, No. 95) gave up more yards than they gained.
The most formidable defense, at least on paper, that the old gold and blue should face in the upcoming campaign should be Texas.
The Longhorns, who were ranked among the bottom of the conference when they had the ball on offense, stood tall on the defensive side of the football, allowing an average of 306.1 yards per game-No. 1 in the Big 12 and No. 11 nationally.
Numbers don't always tell us everything and the wisest betting man understands that you can't always go by them when deciding on who you are going to bet your hard earned money.
Just take a look at the numbers posted by WVU's former Big East rivals Rutgers and Louisville. The Scarlet Knights, who were unable to hold onto a 10-point halftime lead over the Mountaineers, were the top prevent unit in the conference-No. 14 in the nation-while the Cardinals also finished ranked among the Top 25 (327.9 ypg, No. 23).
Both teams struggled, however, as Louisville earned a share of the Big East title with a 5-2 league mark, but finished 7-6 overall while Rutgers had the better overall record (9-4), but was able to win only four of seven league contests.
Confused? I was when I started researching the numbers for this column. But, it did prove one thing.
WVU will find the going a little tougher in its new conference, but this team is capable of winning it and winning it now.
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org