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Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Little debate on WVU's Big 12 letdown

By David Ubben

I asked, and you answered. Rather emphatically, I'd say. Even finishing six games under .500 wasn't enough to offset the disappointment of a fall gut punch in Morgantown, when the Mountaineers' first season in the Big 12 began like a dream and ended in a snowy nightmare.

Well over 3,000 of you cast your vote and 75 percent said the football team's disappointing 7-5 campaign is a bigger disappointment than the basketball team coming to the Big 12 from the Big East and finishing 13-19 and 6-12 in Big 12 play.

I'm definitely surprised at how adamant the vote was, but the season began with so much promise. WVU's defense obviously had issues from the start, but after hanging 70 points and providing a fantastic afternoon atmosphere in the Mountaineers' first Big 12 game -- a dramatic, offense-laden 70-63 win over Baylor -- all anyone could talk about was how perfect of a fit WVU was for the Big 12. The rest of the season doesn't necessarily change that, but a week later, WVU went down to Austin and hung 48 points in a win over an undefeated, top-15 Texas team in the Big 12's biggest stadium.

I was in attendance, and it had the feel of something special. You sort of got a sense the Mountaineers felt the same way. A week later, I followed WVU out to Lubbock and couldn't believe what I saw. The same team's defensive shortcomings took center stage while the offense floundered in a 49-14 beating, and it was the beginning of the end of what looked like such a special season.

Ultimately, that's what won this poll for the football team, I'd say. The basketball team never showed the promise of football, losing three of its first four Big 12 games and its final seven games of the season before finally being put out to pasture.

Either way, it was a rough first go-around for the Mountaineers (and no, winning a national title in rifle will do little in the way of changing that).