TCU vs. West Virginia: Mountaineers Need Major Adjustment to Survive in Big 12

John DegrooteCorrespondent IINovember 3, 2012

What is the problem for West Virginia?
What is the problem for West Virginia?Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

TCU head coach Gary Patterson made one of the gutsiest calls of the year Saturday in the battle of Big 12 newcomers, and it paid off big time.

Horned Frogs’ quarterback Trevone Boykin rolled out to the right and threw the ball to junior wide receiver Josh Boyce. Boyce managed to corral the ball and after an official review, TCU was awarded the two points and could celebrate their first win in three weeks.

The West Virginia Mountaineers were left pondering their third consecutive loss of the season.

Geno Smith and his Mountaineers were making some major BCS noise before running into Texas Tech. The Red Raiders put up 49 against WVU’s 118th-ranked scoring defense and handed the Mountaineers their first loss of the season.

A week later, Heisman favorite Colin Klein and Kansas State came to town and ran the Mountaineers out of their own building, 55-14.

The defense has been the Mountaineers' main problem. Their 118th rank puts them among schools like Massachusetts, Hawaii and Idaho. Giving up nearly 40 points per game will not cut it in the Big 12.

The 39-point total they allowed was just the second lowest total for the Mountaineers this season. 

Letting opponents score at will worked when Smith was slinging eight touchdowns a game, but not with the former Heisman front-runner hitting a wall as of late.

The West Virginia defenders need to learn how to stop, or at least slow down, their opponents if they want to have any success going forward.

As for Smith, it is hard to say he is a problem, but he needs to find the rhythm he was in earlier in the season.

In the Mountaineers' five wins, Smith was averaging 399 yards through the air. In the team's three losses, he is averaging just about 227 yards per game

Every game is going to be tough. This is not the Big East anymore—it’s the Big 12.

The Mountaineers now face Oklahoma State and Oklahoma in back-to-back weeks before finishing the season against Iowa State and Kansas.

In September there were talks about WVU being a national championship contender. Now the team will be lucky to make a mediocre bowl game.