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WVU Having Hard Time in New League

November 12, 2012
By JIM ELLIOTT - Staff Writer (elliott@theintelligencer.net) , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

At this point, you're probably asking yourself, if not your neighbor: Is West Virginia in over its head with this move to the Big 12?

The easy answer is no ... for now. Because the move was, and is, about money. And there's more money to be had in the Big 12. Period.

On the field, the only reason these questions are being pondered is because WVU's football team can't seem to stop, much less beat, anyone in the Big 12 these days. After all, no one is wondering if the Mountaineers can compete with those southwesterners in women's soccer. Nikki-Izzo Brown's band of Big 12 neophytes went out and won the league's regular-season title.

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But in football, where the money flows, West Virginia is having its issues. The Mountaineers lost their fourth straight game Saturday- the first time they've done that in 26 years - and are 2-4 in league games. In those contests, they've scored 218 points and given up 306.

Three-hundred and six points in six games? No one has a chance of winning games when they give up, on average, 51 points per game.

I still can't figure out what head coach Dana Holgorsen meant the other day when he was asked about this team giving up more points than any other in school history. (By the way, that happened Saturday when the Mountaineers yielded 55 to Oklahoma State, as they blew past the 364 points the 1978 team allowed)

I wonder if those guys popped champagne like Mercury Morris?

''The last time I was aware, this is the first time West Virginia has ever played in the Big 12,'' Holgorsen said.

While that's true, it's an odd answer.

If the trend continues, the Mountaineers will give up more than 500 points this season, and approach a record no one saw coming.

They've given up 373 with three games, and presumably a bowl game to go. East Carolina set the record for most generous defense in history two years ago at 572.

It's not as if they're playing against Brett Favre or Peyton Manning. The last two quarterbacks WVU has faced, where they've given up 94 points, had a combined four career starts, and those were all by TCU's Trevon Boykin. Clint Chelf, the junior who started for the Cowboys on Saturday, was passed on the depth chart by two freshmen and considered transferring in May.

That's not meant to demean the abilities of those guys because it takes quite a bit of talent to get a Division I college scholarship as a quarterback. It seems to me, at the very least, the Mountaineers could have found a way to confuse those fellows. Unless they're in farther over their heads than two quarterbacks with four career starts.

Other games

Kansas State is well positioned to play in the national championship game after Saturday's 23-10 victory against TCU. Baylor (4-5) and Texas (8-2) are the only teams standing in the way of the Wildcats and the title game. Texas Tech needed two overtimes to beat Kansas, 41-34. When that happens, head coaches are sure to be slapping graduate assistants hard enough to knock hats and headsets off their heads. Texas honored former coach Darrell Royal with some wishbone offense in a 33-7 whipping of Iowa State, and Oklahoma beat Baylor 42-34 as Bob Stoops became the school's all-time winningest coach.

This week's games

Texas Tech at Oklahoma State

Oklahoma at West Virginia

Iowa State at Kansas

Kansas State at Baylor

Jim Elliott can be reached via e-mail at: elliott@theintelligencer.net

 
 

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