Friday, November 23, 2012
Big 12: Who will transform today?
By David Ubben
Tavon Austin did quite the transforming act last week, shape-shifting into the Big 12's best running back for a week.
Iowa State did a little transforming into a bowl team last week. This time, it's West Virginia's turn, at the expense of the Cyclones. The Mountaineers have come close twice along the way to a five-game losing streak.
Last week, Landry Jones played the part of a hero, finding Kenny Stills for a game-winning touchdown with 24 seconds to play. Earlier this year, a trick play and a gutsy two-point conversion sent TCU into the postseason, instead of West Virginia.
It's finally the Mountaineers' turn. They'll transform into a bowl-eligible squad later today after rediscovering their offense last week and a brand new offensive weapon in Austin out of the backfield.
This year hasn't been easy for the Mountaineers. Most of the guys on the team have never lost five games in a row. But it won't get any worse, and there's no way WVU is going to slide all the way out of bowl eligibility. West Virginia wasn't as good as many, myself included, believed. The offense wasn't as consistent as it needed to be and the defense provided zero margin for error. The step up in Big 12 offenses compared with Big East offenses has clearly proved to be too much.
Still, this week, even though WVU will be on the road, the streak finally snaps. Geno Smith looks like he's found his vibe a bit, and with Stedman Bailey and Austin looking back to their normal selves, it's time for West Virginia to break through and finally win a tight game again.
Then, it'll finally be time to celebrate a bowl game.