Big 12 Math Made Easy

Buckeye CommentarySenior Analyst IJanuary 3, 2009

Your Big 12 Average Scoring – 14 points for average defense = bowl scoring
Your Big 12 Average Scoring – 21 points for good defense = bowl scoring

"You've got to stop the running game first or at least try to control it some, because we have not seen anybody that runs the ball like they do. We've got great stats against the run (No. 2 nationally), but we're in a passing league.” Mack Brown, circa last week.

Truer words have never been spoken. Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter, the Big 12’s leading rusher, was on display last night in the Holiday Bowl against the Oregon Ducks. In case you missed it, here’s the stat line: 13 rushes for 36 yards (2.8 ypc with a long of 13). That’s right. This is a guy that rumbled for 1,500 yards at 6.7 ypc. And Oklahoma State was in it for most of the game, without Dez Bryant.

13 rushes for 36 yards...

This is the same Kendall Hunter that rumbled for 161 yards on 18 carries and a TD against Texas. Yes, that No. 2 in the nation Texas Longhorns run defense. Yes, the game in which the Cowboys held the Longhorns to their lowest output of the season of 28 points and a point differential of four (28-24).

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State acted like they had rarely seen a QB or HB that could (or would) run. Maybe you can discount it as a bad bowl game for OK State, but it’s not like this Oregon team is considered a stalwart against the run.

Through the Alamo Bowl (Missouri vs Northwestern) and the Holiday Bowl (Oklahoma State vs Oregon), we’ve learned the answer to the “bad defenses or good offenses” question. The Big 12 offenses AND defenses have struggled so far.

Northwestern brought Big Ten physicality (yes, Northwestern) and manhandled Missouri for most of the game. Sure, these might have only been the fourth and fifth-best teams in the Big 12, but what if the trend continues?

They may have been the No. 4 and No. 5 teams, but they are both ranked in the top 10 in scoring offense. Missouri came in ranked No. 6, at 42.2 points per game, and Oklahoma State came in ranked No. 8, with 41.6 points per game. Texas, you may ask, is right there at 43.9 points per game.

What does this mean for the Buckeyes? Probably not much, because Texas and Ohio State are their own teams. Colt McCoy is still scary.

“The best defense Texas has seen all year” made Mark Sanchez look like Matt Leinart (USC, not the pros), not to mention previous performance that shall not be named. If I was Texas, and I was watching its Big 12 brethren getting pushed around, I would be a little worried going into this game. Expect that point spread to keep dropping if this trend continues through Monday.