MORGANTOWN - This is the week when West Virginia begins finding the answer to a question that has been around for several years now, or since the Big 12 became Shootout Central.
Does defense even matter? And if it does, how much?
"Well, that side of the ball is important and I don't care who you're playing,'' West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "Every team poses different challenges.''
True, but in the Big 12 the challenge, at least as a general rule, is to score more points than the other team. And while that might sound simplistic - and it is - the difference in the Big 12 is that seldom is 10 or 20 or sometimes even 30 points enough.
Case in point: Last season, Texas led the Big 12 in total defense and ranked No. 11 in the country. The Longhorns finished the season 8-5 and finished sixth in the 10-team league and with a losing conference record.
Oklahoma State, meanwhile, was 107th out of 120 teams in total defense. The Cowboys finished 12-1 and won the Big 12.
Yes, OSU made up somewhat for those defensive deficiencies by leading the nation in turnover margin, giving its high-powered offense - second in the country in passing and scoring and third in total offense - more opportunities to score.
But in a way, perhaps that only reinforces the argument that offense is the thing and defense is secondary.
On Saturday, No. 9 West Virginia (3-0) faces No. 25 Baylor (3-0) at Mountaineer Field. The noon game is the first ever for WVU in Big 12 play.
And it pits a West Virginia offense that is third in the country in passing, 10th in scoring and 14th in total offense against a Baylor defense that is No. 113 in passing defense and total defense. On the flip side, a Baylor offense that is fifth in passing and scoring and sixth in total offense against a WVU defense that is No. 74 in total defense and No. 103 against the pass.