A defense ranked among the nation's worst has doomed the former Top Five West Virginia Mountaineers, and the defensive unit as a whole will cause Dana Holgorsen's team to lose its fifth straight game on Saturday against Oklahoma.
The No. 12 Sooners would have had a better opportunity to fortify their case in the BCS picture had the Mountaineers maintained their hot start. Instead, potential No. 1 pick Geno Smith has endured a nightmarish end to his Heisman campaign and the Mountaineers haven't been able to stop anyone.
His numbers are phenomenal—31 touchdowns to just three interceptions and over 70 percent pass completion percentage—however, the Mountaineers as a whole have been anything but good over the past month.
Even though Smith and Co. are in the top 10 in points scored per game, the West Virginia defense has allowed more points than that on average. The Mountaineers are outscored by an average of 41.4 to 40. Now sitting at 5-4, any chance of salvaging the Big 12 title evaporated long ago. Holgorsen's bunch is in danger of losing out on bowl eligibility—particularly with a loss this week.
The fact that the game is in Morgantown will help the cause, but when the Sooners' offense has smelled blood in 2012, they have capitalized.
QB Landry Jones should have no problem shredding the Mountaineers' secondary, especially with the dynamic junior receiver duo of Kenny Stills and Justin Brown. In another critical home game earlier this season, the Mountaineers took on the Kansas State Wildcats, now ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings.
Heisman front-runner Collin Klein cemented his status in that game, devastating the Mountaineers with both his arm and his feet. Klein ran for four short touchdowns, and the Sooners have a similar expert in those situations in backup signal caller Blake Bell.
The 6'6", 254-pound sophomore has 10 touchdown runs on 46 carries after notching 13 in 2011.
Not to mention that the Sooners have two backs in Damien Williams and Brennan Clay who can inflict some serious damage. The pair have combined for over 1,000 yards on the season and 14 touchdowns to give Oklahoma exceptional balance.
For a defense that doesn't exactly have the luxury of picking its poison, the Sooners may present the biggest nightmare matchup WVU has faced to date.
Despite the desperation the Mountaineers will be playing with in order to scratch out a victory at home, the defense will be afflicted by the multifaceted Oklahoma attack. West Virginia will unfortunately continue its shocking, perpetual slide after previous aspirations of reaching college football's ultimate summit.