Grantland has a fascinating article on WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen and the Mountaineers' move to the Big 12. WVU's 70-63 win against Baylor has, understandably, become a major story throughout college football -- the West Virginia and Baylor offenses were as impressive as their defenses were weak, and one wonders if this is where college football is headed.
I am not unaware of Alabama and LSU, but is it time to concede, given Baylor-WVU — and given Georgia's 51-44 win over Tennessee a few hours later, in what I believe still counts as a Southeast Conference game — that these sorts of impenetrable defenses are the exception rather than the rule in college football? What if wide-open offense is not some measure of college football's inferiority, but simply part of the inherent evolution of the game, given both decades of rules changes and the ongoing concussion crisis? What if offenses like Holgorsen's serve as a pathway to mitigate the violence of football without rendering the sport obsolete? And, if we put aside the preconceptions we grew up with in the era of Woody and Bo and Bear, how is 70-63 somehow inherently less valuable than [a score of] 6-3?
These are great questions, and WVU's first season in the Big 12 will provide fascinating clues to help us answer them. The Mountaineers have a huge test this week against Texas (7:00 on Saturday, FOX). The Longhorns are a better team than Baylor, but they're not immune to giving up tons of points themselves -- their last two matchups were a 66-31 win over Ole Miss and a 41-36 squeaker against Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers will surely have their hands full against David Ash and the Texas offense. Can they score enough to keep pace? And will Holgorsen and Geno Smith's high-powered offense continue to work wonders against Texas, as well as in upcoming matchups against Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma? Time will tell.