MORGANTOWN - Question of the day: In what universe is it possible that a West Virginia defense can allow an opposing quarterback to throw for 581 yards and five touchdowns and an opposing receiver to catch 17 passes for 314 yards and still win?
Answer: Welcome to the Big 12. And get used to it.
No, they all aren't going to be this ridiculous. These weren't video game numbers. It was beyond that. Call it Monopoly Football, where the numbers just don't seem to relate well to reality.
But after just one game in the Big 12, it is more than apparent that few of the old rules apply, especially where Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin and the West Virginia offense are concerned.
These aren't misprints: Smith completed 45 of 51 passes for 656 yards and eight touchdowns, Bailey caught 13 passes for 303 yards and five scores and Austin grabbed 14 for 215 yards Saturday as No. 9 West Virginia outlasted No. 25 Baylor 70-63 in the Mountaineers' debut in the Big 12.
A few more: West Virginia gained 807 total yards, Baylor 700. West Virginia set school records for both yards gained and yards allowed - in the same game. There were six 100-yard receivers between the two teams. The scoring records are almost too numerous to count.
Yet with 99 seconds left to play, West Virginia still had to convert a third-and-1 near midfield to seal the win. It seemed only fitting that needing one yard, Dustin Garrison ran for 17. Excess was, after all, the theme of the day.
In truth, though, the game was merely everything that most had predicted. The only catch is that seldom do games turn out exactly as expected. This was an exception.
Afterward, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen admitted that while it would be wise to get used to games of a similarly offensive-minded vein, even this one was an exception to what will be the rule.
"I've been telling you how it is,'' said Holgorsen, who has an intimate knowledge of the league after spending much of the last dozen years in it. "Not every Big 12 game is like this. Not every Big 12 offense is like this. Not every game is going to be like this.
"But this was a situation where both offenses were playing at a pretty high level.''
Indeed. And it became apparent very quickly that no lead would ever quite be safe.
For instance, West Virginia trailed for much of the first half, but never by more than a touchdown. And each time the Mountaineers did fall behind it was only a matter of a few Smith completions to square things again.