I used to hate math while in school. Nothing frustrated me more than trying to figure out variables and theoroms while trying to keep my brain from creeping out of my ears and moving on to something that allowed a little more creativity. Luckily, I eventually found my nitsch in communications, but I now realize a very important lesson I learned while passing time in various math classes. When all else fails and the answer seems too distant to grasp, you just need to evaluate the pieces to the puzzle so you know what step to take next.
So, allow me to distinguish the pieces we have for this team so far. So far, the (passing) offense can hang with those teams at the top of the Big 12, yet the defense has expressed its inability to stop even the most anemic offenses in the conference. Meanwhile, special teams continues to be a solid piece to the winning puzzle. Okay, no surprises for those of us that follow this team.
So, the big question is, can K-State utilize these puzzle pieces into a final masterpiece that includes a bowl win and possibly a run at the Big 12 North?
Well, after a weekend that saw the Big 12 get turned on its head with Oklahoma and Missouri losing and KU and Texas Tech going to the wire in their games, Ron Prince should be pointing at the standings and showing his team what this all means. K-State is currently tied for 2nd in the Big 12 North.
There is no doubt this might be the strongest year the Big 12 has had since its inception. Five teams currently occupy the top 12 spots in the polls. Now, while this is a set-up that isn't ideal for a Wildcat program that is in the rebuilding process, it gives our young players and coaches a chance to gauge themselves against the best in the nation.
While I may sound like Coach Prince with this declaration, I do think this KSU team can still compete this year, even without a strong defense. I know that I've been preaching the importance of Prince looking for a new DC at the end of the season, but for the rest of this season, we have to start building with the pieces we have. The sad truth is that our defense is more Dorothy Lynch than Lynch Mob. The good news is that our offense and special teams have been able to pick up the slack.
We are currently living in the world of spread offenses and dual-threat quarterbacks, so there is much more emphasis on the offensive side of the ball. Ten years ago, coaches would choose to put their athletes on the defensive side of the ball (see, Terrence Newman). However, in this day and age, the athletes are on offense, and teams have been forced to just keep up. Just take a look at the increase in offense in the Big 12 over the past five seasons alone. This season, only two teams average less than 30 points a game (CU and A&M). In 2004, only four teams averaged over 30 points. That's a pretty good indication that the Big 12 has quickly turned its attention to offense over the past five years.
I desperately wish we had the Lynch Mob defense back, but reality is a cruel bitch. So, we are stuck hoping Josh, Brandon, Deon and Lamark can keep us in the games we need to win. While defense can play an important role in the outcome of a game, it now seems that offense is more important than ever.
The way I see it, wins against Colorado, Iowa State, Nebraska, and possibly even that school down the road are within reach. Simply because defense will not be a priority in those games. None have the offensive firepower of Oklahoma or Tech, yet their defenses should allow us to still put up at least 21.
What is the point of all this? Am I saying Prince has had it right this whole time and the rest of us are just now catching on? Ummmm, not quite.
I still think our defense needs to get back to its Lynch Mob mentality, and I don't believe in changing my tune along the melodies of wins and losses. We need a new DC, and I still believe Ron is on the hot seat until he takes us to consecutive bowl games. Instead, I'm just looking for the silver lining. 4-2 overall and 1-1 in the Big 12 is not horrible. It's not good, but it's not horrible. I just hope our coaches can figure out the correct arrangement for these pieces.
So, time to saddle up fellas. We've got a tough trip this weekend. Another 44 points and a blocked punt should be good enough to get another road win in this ridiculous conference.