Good Offense or Bad Defense?

Whenever you have a game like Oklahoma-Texas, you have a number of varying reactions.

Obviously, no one is going to knock the entertainment value. The up-and-down, back-and-forth nature of such games is riveting. You can't beat the atmosphere of the Cotton Bowl for this rivalry game. It has everything you're looking for.

Except for defense.

Yes, Texas got some key stops down the stretch. They won 45-35, in large part, because their defense got those stops. But those stops wouldn't have been so key if they hadn't failed to field a defense for the better part of three quarters.

Of course, Oklahoma's crime was worse. That's why they are going to pay dearly for it, while Texas stays perfect.

Fact of the matter is that Texas only won because their defense showed up for one quarter.

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Doesn't say much about Oklahoma's, does it?

It seems to be a trend with Big 12 teams. Kansas' defense wilted against Missouri last year, then Missouri's defense put up a FAIL against Oklahoma. Oklahoma, of course, had that epic meltdown against West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl.

Texas has never been known for great team defense. They play high-scoring games all the time, which is great for entertainment. However, it's not normally conducive to winning national championships.

That's the issue in the Big 12 right now. No one is playing enough defense on a consistent basis to win a national title.

Credit these coaches. They're trying. Kansas had a good defense last year before it got blown up by Missouri. Oklahoma's defense allowed three first-half points all year before today. Texas hired Will Muschamp to run the defense this year.

It's just not working.

Every year, we see this formula. It ended well for Texas in 2005, but that's an anomaly. There isn't one team in this league that's playing good defense right now. Missouri is probably the closest, but as of this writing, the only team that tested their defense - Illinois - scored 42 points and lit it up. So the jury's out, at best, heading into their game against a potent Oklahoma State offense tonight.

Offense is great. Don't get me wrong. And I enjoyed today's Texas-Oklahoma game. And I'm not here to pour a bucket of cold water on it. 45-35 beats 7-6 pretty much any day. But bad defense is bad defense, and I saw a lot of it today.

Going forward, it's worth mentioning, because it's going to be a huge problem for everyone in the Big 12 until someone figures it out.

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