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CRFF QotW: Was the Cowboys' Defense Overrated?

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Thomas Fleming: So for this question of the week, how good do you think OSU's defense really was this past year?

Gallagher Martin: I think that the defense was overrated. There was a time, early in the season, where the consensus was that we had the best defense in the Big 12. That was clearly not the case. If Bean and Simmons stayed healthy, I think the state of Oklahoma could have boasted the best two defenses in the conference. I don't see the defense improving too much, but I also don't see it getting too much worse.

Chris Ross: Consensus was Texas had the best defense, OSU might. In reality, I believe that TCU did, but they lost 30 starters for three games or longer.

Gerald Tracy: Our defense was massively overrated. I think that was a bigger problem this year.

Zach Collums: I don't think our defense was overrated by the way. When you lose a defensive end who was arguably also a future draft pick and your leader at starting middle linebacker, your defense is not going to be as good as advertised at the beginning of the year. And a lot of fans and media tend to forget that.

Zach Collums: I wouldn't mind having a defensive-minded coach like Gary Patterson then balancing him out with a good offensive coordinator, like they do at TCU.

Chris Ross: So you wouldn't mind haveing one of the best coaching staffs in college football. Good to know lol.

Gallagher Martin: Yeah I wouldn't mind Gary Patterson either lol.

Zach Collums: It doesn't have to be him, but someone who's going to focus on stopping teams instead of the philosophy of bend but don't break on defense and try to outscore them on offense.

Gallagher Martin: Bend but don't break works wen you have athletes.

Zach Collums: Bend but don't break is not a sound defensive strategy; it's not even a good one. It's a stop gap for a subpar defense and only works for a team when there is an elite level offense.

Gallagher Martin: Welcome to the Big 12.

Chris Ross: You can't have an elite offense and an elite defense statistically as a conference. It's impossible.

Zach Collums: You don't have to have an elite defense, just a defense that doesn't resort to gimmicks to keep teams from scoring. That's basically what bend but don't break is.

Chris Ross: I disagree. Against the spread you have to keep everything in front of you, until they have nowhere to go. Against other offenses, yes, you can attack them and shut them down. But against a spread, you can only really stop it by one thing, which is bad decision making. Because there will be holes. The condensed field allows defenses to stop the run better, which also allows a defense to commit more guys in the red zone. But do it in an open field and a good QB will make you pay.

Zach Collums: A better than just good defensive line will stop spread attacks in their tracks. And then all you really need is decent corners to keep the ball out of the hands of the offense's best receiver. Spreads rely on having at least an average-to-good run game. No spread offense is good enough to survive without a good enough run game. The problem I have with what Spencer does is not so much that he plays bend but don't break, but that he has his corners 15 yards off the line of scrimmage.

Gerald Tracy: Pretty much all Big 12 coaches do that now.

Zach Collums: And almost every Big 12 defense gets murdered through the air.

Chris Ross: Do you truly think other conference defenses are significantly better as a whole?

Gerald Tracy: Well the SEC just shat on just about everyone. I think there might be something to it.

Chris Ross: The SEC yes, probably, but the PAC-12?

Cameron Osburn: The Big 12 isn't good. It's mediocre. I don't know why some of y'all hypnotized yourselves into thinking it was good. Ole Miss was going to destroy us; that was inevitable. They beat 'Bama and 'Bama would beat us by 60. The Big 12 isn't even close to the SEC or PAC-12's level. Or even the Big 10 east. The SEC is bigger, faster and stronger and will always be because of the recruiting base that it's in.

Thomas Fleming: I think OSU had a better defense than they got credit for, but to your guys' argument, I think that the Big 12 style of play distorts the numbers to favor the offense and not the defense.