PERHAPS THE No. 1 question asked of those within and around West Virginia's football program is this: How will the Mountaineers fare in the Big 12?
It's a terrific question. From 2003 to now, WVU was unquestionably the premier program in the Big East. But this is a new day. The Mountaineers have much to prove.
Perhaps no one, though, has a better feel for the answer than the Mountaineers' own coach, Dana Holgorsen. He used to coach at two Big 12 schools: Oklahoma State in 2010 and Texas Tech from 2000 through 2007.
He made two comments this spring that struck a chord in relation to the question. First, there was this:
"The Big 12 has tremendous offenses," he said, "but also very skilled defenses. We just need to worry about being a more consistent offense. I believe we have the mindset to do what it takes to win."
The last sentence indicates he likes the team, or at least its approach to the game.
Holgorsen said something else, however, that was even more interesting. He was speaking of the incoming recruits. He indicated all but the offensive line recruits could play right away. Then he added this:
"We need a lot more depth in the Big 12 because of the increased snaps," he said. "It will be a longer season."
The numbers from last season show him correct - to a point.
Of the 1,527 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision games last season, the average length was 3 hours and 14 minutes. In the Big East, that was 3:20. In the Big 12, it was 3:23.
But let's get to the important stat: plays within those games.
The average game had 139.2 plays. The average Big East game had 135.7. Meanwhile, the average Big 12 game had 143.3.