The Big 12 has been known for the high-octane and flashy offenses and many outside of the conference don’t see past the early season match-up between the West Virginia Mountaineers and Baylor Bears. The 70-63 score made the stomachs of defense lovers’ turn, but even for someone like me who enjoys watching an offense take over a defense that game was hard to watch. The back and forth scoring made the desire to see a defense make a play, any play, grew stronger as the game went on.
People need to realize that game featured a team in the Mountaineers that has focused all their athletic ability on offense and a Baylor team that has the most efficient offense in the country. Both teams have absolutely atrocious defenses. There’s no need to explain what happens when an extremely talented offense meets basically nothing on defense. The score fed right into the perception of the conference and because of 133 combined points, mentioning the Big 12 provokes a dirty look from SEC country.
With perception, comes assumptions. The assumption is the team crowned Big 12 champion will have to outscore every team they play in a shutout. Its understandable, there’s five teams currently in the top 25 in total offense and each of those teams are averaging over six yards per play. The Big 12 also features seven teams in the top 25 in scoring offense. But look no further than the top of the conference and see what is winning games.
Start with the Kansas State Wildcats, the No. 1 team in the country. Yes, they have Collin Klein and the offense puts up over 40 points a game, but they have held offenses within conference to just 19 points a game. The defense has shut down the No. 1, 3, 4 and 5 offenses in the conference. West Virginia was passing right through their schedule and then the Wildcats held Geno Smith and the offense to just 155 passing yards and 2 interceptions. The conference features some talented quarterbacks, but the KSU defense doesn’t care, they are holding teams to 252 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Now, look at the team that has a hold on second place in the conference, the Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners are holding teams within conference to 21 points. They allowed the Bears to put up 32 points last Saturday, but that only proves the point, if they had played better defense, the game wouldn’t have been close. You also have to keep in mind the Bears offense is just down right efficient. The Sooners are holding teams in the Big 12 187.8 passing yards a game, in fact only two teams in the conference have been able to break 200 passing yards in a game. Seth Doege put up over 200 yards, but the Sooner defense caused three interceptions to beat the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Oklahoma’s lone conference loss came against K-State, who won the game playing defense holding the Sooner offense below their averages. Yes, there’s an abundance of offense in the Big 12, but the team with hopes to make it out of the conference as champs must step up and play defense.
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