There is an old saying in sports that goes you're never as good as you look when you win or as bad as you look when you lose.
So when West Virginia was pounded by Texas Techmore than a week ago, we fans said it was just one of those bad days. The offense had an off week. After all, the Mountaineers had a terrible game at Syracuse a year ago and went on to win the Orange Bowl. So it was no time to panic.
Kansas State 55, West Virginia 14. It's time to panic.
It was a horrific performance, and this time in front of 60,000 shocked fans at Milan Puskar Stadium. It's not that a loss was so surprising, but the manner in which it occurred. The Mountaineers were not even competitive. It was an embarrassing scenario in a nationally-televised game, one which could not have been foreseen when the Mountaineers left Austin, Texas, two weeks ago undefeated and ranked in the Top Ten.
Some signs of why are now evident. The West Virginia offense indeed looked formidable against Baylor and Texas, but let us look at what those teams have done in their other two conference games. Baylor has yielded 49 points (vs TCU) and 56 (Texas). Texas has given up 56 (Oklahoma) and 50 (Baylor). So while the Mountaineers looked unstoppable against those defenses, frankly so has everyone else. And when the WVU offense has played quality defenses the last two weeks, it has looked much more ordinary.
Which wouldn't be so bad if we had a defense that could stop someone. But we don't. Quarterbacks are able to comfortably stand in the pocket because there is no pass rush and receivers are running wide open because there apparently is no one who can cover them. It's pitch and catch. Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was 19 of 21 passing for 323 yards and three touchdowns. His two incompletions were overthrown to wide open receivers. C'mon Collin, get with it.
We laid out some defensive statistics last week so we won't repeat them again except for one which tells the whole story. Now in four Big 12 games when the West Virginia defense has been on the field: 5 punts, 29 touchdowns. I challenge any major college football team to match that one.
I hate to say this but I have followed Mountaineer football since the late1950s and haven't ever seen a defense as bad as this. I don't know enough of the intricacies of football to know how much of what we see is lack of talent, issues with the scheme, or both. But we all recognize a bad product when we see it. And the problem is that we already are more than halfway through the season so it's not going to get any better.
Many will say that part of the problem is that WVU stepped up in class to the Big 12. That is quite true, but we would be kidding ourselves if we think this team wouldn't have had trouble against a Big East schedule as well.
So where does this leave us? Take a look at the schedule. After what we saw the last two weeks, a six-game losing streak is not out of the question. A sad reality to a season that began with so much hope and anticipation.
Bring on Kansas. Please. Sooner, if possible. And even that isn't a guarantee.
But I can guarantee that the Mountaineers will not lose this Saturday. There is no game. Thank you. We need the rest.