There have been 11 games so far this bowl season in which the two teams combined for better than 60 points. (Daily Star Graphic/SCOTT NOVAK)

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Scott Novak: Where has the defense gone?

Published 9:02pm Thursday, January 5, 2012

Apparently I missed the memo that made playing defense optional in the 2011-12 college football bowl season.

To date, there have been 11 bowl games in which the two teams combined for 60 points or more. Three of those games ended up with 80 or more points on the scoreboard, while two of them — Alamo and Orange — wound up with more than 100 points scored between the two teams.

In fact, Baylor’s 67-56 win over Washington in the Alamo Bowl established a new record for combined points allowed in a game.

It also produced 10 NCAA bowl records and tied four others.

It was ridiculous to watch, but I have to admit entertaining.

But since I am a guy who likes a little defense with his football game, it was offensive as well.

Come on, 17 touchdowns in a single game? There were 43 points scored in the third quarter alone and 59 points scored between the Bears and Huskies in the opening half.

There are more than 1,300 yards in total offense, surpassing the old bowl mark by better than 100 yards.

Washington quarterback Keith Price, who was supposed to play second fiddle in the contest to Baylor’s Heisman Trophy winning RG III (Robert Griffin III), finished with a combined seven touchdowns — three rushing and four passing.

But that wasn’t the only game that saw offense running amuck while the defense apparently went out for a bite to eat and never returned to the stadium.

Here are the top 10 bowl games listed in order by points scored:

1. Alamo Bowl: Baylor-Washington 123

2. Orange Bowl: West Virginia-Clemson 103

3. Military Bowl: Toledo-Air Force 83

3. Rose Bowl: Oregon-Wisconsin 83

5. Las Vegas Bowl: Boise State-Arizona State 80

6. Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State-Stanford 79

7. Little Caesars Bowl: Purdue-Western Michigan 69

8. Chik-fil-A Bowl: Auburn-Virginia 67

9. Independence Bowl: Missouri-North Carolina 65

10. Outback Bowl: Michigan State-Georgia 63

We still have four games remaining and I can see at least a couple of those being high-scoring affairs.

To be quite frank about it, college football has started to lean toward the National Football League formula —all passing, very little defense and high-scoring games.

If I wanted to see that, I would just tune in on Sundays and catch one of those games.

West Virginia-BIG EAST lawsuit

I cannot believe the mess that West Virginia and the BIG EAST have created.

Really? A lawsuit? I wonder where the NCAA —college athletics’ governing body —is during all this.

Shouldn’t they be the ones deciding whether or not the Mountaineers need to honor their commitment to the BIG EAST or can head to the Big 12 to begin play next year?

I mean seriously, conferences taking schools to court. This is just sad. It truly makes me sick to even think about it.

The spineless NCAA should have put their foot down when teams began shifting conference alignments in the first place.

Come on, Boise State and San Diego State in the BIG EAST. It was bad enough when Nebraska joined the Big Ten Conference. That’s stretching it about as far as I am comfortable with.

But when teams are going to be flying back and forth across the country to compete in league contests, that’s just ridiculous. No wonder it costs an arm and a leg to send a kid to college these days.

Let’s go NCAA. Get out of that golden palace of yours down in Indianapolis and govern college athletics. Quit writing all your rules in pencil and take charge before this gets any more out of control.

That’s what I thought you were supposed to be doing in the first place.

Scott Novak is sports editor for Leader Publications. He can be reached at Scott.novak@leaderpub.com

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