Last week in this column, I explored the areas of quarterback play connected to winning a Big 12 championship this decade. Inside of that bucket of information was a pathway towards the level of play needed from Texas quarterbacks this season if the goal is to win the conference. Ironically, the signs pointed to needing something similar to the type of season David Ash enjoyed in 2012, which was an odd thing to discover when you consider that few people were losing their minds over Ash's improved level of play because everyone was waiting for him to reach near-Colt McCoy levels. It got me to thinking about the rest of the offense, primarily the running backs and offensive line. Now that we have a good idea of what it will take at the quarterback position, what about the other areas of concern on the offense? Just how much improvement is needed? What exactly does it take on the offensive side of the ball to win a Big 12 title? Answering those questions is where we're headed ... No. 2 - The big trend in the running game ... For a league that is known for its high-powered passing games, the Big 12 has actually turned into a league where having a great running game is an absolute must. Check out the running game numbers per game from the last 10 Big 12 champions this decade: 2010 Oklahoma (138.0 ypg) 2011 Oklahoma St. (158.6 ypg) 2012 Kansas St. (194.0 ypg) 2012 Oklahoma (161.4 ypg) 2013 Baylor (259.7 ypg) 2014 Baylor (215.5 ypg) 2014 TCU (206.8 ypg) 2015 Oklahoma (222.1 ypg) 2016 Oklahoma (236.8 ypg) 2017 Oklahoma(217.8 ypg) The last six Big 12 champions have all averaged more than 200 yards per game and it's quite clear that since Oklahoma won the Big 12 in 2010 with a pretty paltry 138.0 yards rushing per game, the numbers have seriously spiked. In fact, the median number for the last 10 champions is 201.1 yards per game. Since 2013, the average jumps to 226.6 yards per game. A year ago, the Longhorns averaged 139.0 yards per game. Based on the recent historical data, the Longhorns actually need larger improvements in the running game than in the passing game, where the raw totals ranked in the top 40 nationally, while the efficiency of those numbers ranked in the bottom 40 nationally. In the case of the running game, everything ranked in the bottom 40. On the smaller end of the scale, the Longhorns need to average 62 more yards this season per game in order to hit the average over the last 10 champions this decade, but the trends in this league suggest that a little more work than the minimum might be needed. Given that this is very much not an exact science, it's probably pretty simple to just say that the Longhorns need to average at least 200 yards per game on the ground. No. 3 - Hello, big mountain ... Now that we've looked at the raw running game numbers, let's pick that data apart slightly by looking at the efficiency of those running games. Here's a look at the yards per rushing attempt that each of the last 10 Big 12 champions have posted this decade: 2010 Oklahoma (3.3 ypc) 2011 Oklahoma St.(5.3 ypc) 2012 Kansas St. (4.8 ypc) 2012 Oklahoma (4.8 ypc) 2013 Baylor (5.4 ypc) 2014 Baylor (4.5 ypc) 2014 TCU (5.3 ypc) 2015 Oklahoma (5.0 ypc) 2016 Oklahoma (5.4 ypc) 2017 Oklahoma (5.6 ypc) Once again, the 2010 Sooners represent a wild outlier inside the bigger volume of numbers. Only once since 2010 has a Big 12 champion averaged less than 4.5 yards per carry and it was that 2010 Bob Stoops-led team that pulled it off. If you include the 2010 Sooners, the average yards per carry for Big 12 title running attacks this decade is 4.9. If you exclude that Oklahoma team's numbers, the mean jumps to 5.12 yards per carry. A year ago, the Longhorns averaged 3.6 yards per carry, which means a major improvement is needed in the form of an additional 1.3 to 1.5 yards worth of improvement per carry. No. 4 - Cutting down on the sacks ... Let's take a look at the sacks per game numbers on offense of the last 10 Big 12 champions: 2010 Oklahoma (1.5 sacks per game) 2011 Oklahoma St. (0.9 sacks per game) 2012 Kansas St. (1.08 sacks per game) 2012 Oklahoma (1.15 sacks per game) 2013 Baylor (1.69 sacks per game) 2014 Baylor (1.85 sacks per game) 2014 TCU (1.77 sacks per game) 2015 Oklahoma (3.15 sacks per game) 2016 Oklahoma (1.62 sacks per game) 2017 Oklahoma (1.86 sacks per game) It's a bit of a running theme, but the outlier in this group was yet another Oklahoma team, as the 2015 Sooners were the only champion this decade that allowed more than two sacks per game, allowing more than three per game! That's actually half a sack more per game than last year's Longhorns averaged (2.62). All things being equal, nine of the last 10 champions have allowed less than 1.86 sacks per game, which means that over the course of the upcoming season, Texas probably needs to chop about 10 sacks off of its numbers from a year ago. No. 5 - Finally, let's look at the scariest set of numbers of them all ... Let's take a look at points per game from the last 10 Big 12 champions: 2010 Oklahoma (37.2 ppg) 2011 Oklahoma St. (48.7 ppg) 2012 Kansas St. (38.78 ppg) 2012 Oklahoma (38.2 ppg) 2013 Baylor (52.3 ppg) 2014 Baylor (48.2 ppg) 2014 TCU (46.5 ppg) 2015 Oklahoma (43.5 ppg) 2016 Oklahoma (43.9 ppg) 2017 Oklahoma (45.1 ppg) The average points per game for the last 10 champions is 44.2 points per game and not since 2013 has a team averaged less than 43 points per game. A year ago, Texas averaged 29.5 points per game. No. 6 – Summing it all up ... So, after crunching the numbers, here are the levels of improvement that Texas probably needs to make this year on the offensive side of the ball. Passer rating: +33.0 (from 125.0 to 158.0) Average rushing yards per game: +61-71 (from 139 to 200-10) Average yards per carry: +1-3-1.5 (from 3.6 to 4.9-5.1) Sacks allowed: -0.8 (from 2.6 to 1.8) Points scored per game: +14-15 (from 29.5 to 43.5-44.5) In other words, Texas needs to be an entirely different offense this year from a year ago, which is not something anyone needs to be told. Yet, the levels of improvement that are needed are quite striking. No. 7 – Buy or Sell … BUY or SELL: A graduate transfer QB matriculates at Texas this Fall? (Sell) I don't get the sense that Herman is sending signals that he will aggressively go after a grad transfer at this position, but I wouldn't rule it out, either. BUY or SELL: Tom Herman is the real OC based on the subliminal messages you picked up on in his interview? (Sell) I don't know if we're there yet, but I think he's going to be much more involved and if there's any struggle at all, he's going to take the wheel. Maybe by the end of the Maryland game. BUY or SELL: Our QB group as a whole will be better this year but we will go another season without a true number 1 QB that starts all the games this season? (Sell) I'm tired of giving players the benefit of the doubt because they are older and ... well ... just because. Buechele actually regressed from his questionable play from the end of his freshman season a year ago, and that happened with Tom Herman (an offensive coach) in charge of the team. There's no tangible proof yet that anyone is better among what has been an under-performing unit. BUY or SELL: Tom Herman delivers us a Natty before Chip Kelly gets one? (Sell) I will no longer accept questions involving Texas winning a national title under Tom Herman until the team plays in a Big 12 Championship game. It's embarrassing. BUY or SELL: Texas wins 2 out of 3 (or better) vs OU, TCU and USC? (Sell) I cannot confidently agree to such a thing, but I will absolutely admit that it's possible. BUY or SELL: After year one and early year one recruiting, Jason Washington is the best recruiter in the Big 12? (Buy) That dude should be calling me up and volunteering to be a source of mine with all of the love I've given him. Or a Plucker's gift card. Something. BUY or SELL: Herman’s next assistant coach hire (non coordinator) has extensive California ties for recruiting purposes? (Sell) I'm thinking the Metroplex. BUY or SELL: If Shaka has another tough year, CDC will have the guts to fire him? (Buy) A blood bath is about to hit the athletic department and when it's over, no one will question whether Chris Del Conte has the guts to fire anyone. BUY or SELL: Snoop comes back for his senior year and helps Shaka stay another year? (Buy) It's common sense to be, which means I probably should have sold, right? When does common sense win out these days? BUY or SELL: Ketch uses the term "poor man's so 'n so.." at least twice in this weeks article? (Sell) This was a poor man's @CenTex Horn post, but that's only the first time I've made a poor man's reference in the entire article. Sucker! BUY or SELL: You would take a job at TexAgs if you got to be the owner and got a 80% raise? (Sell) I once asked Al Green if he ever got tired of singing "Let's Stay Together" after all these years and he told me, "Never, that's my baby." Those words ring really true because Orangeblooods is my baby. BUY or SELL: Your mom's influence in some way has helped you in your profession? Explain!!!! (Buy) Oh man, the examples are numerous. For instance, I got my foot in the door at KEYE-TV back in 1995 because my mom was a sales person at the station. Or the fact that she let me live under her roof in college, while I worked for low wages at the TV station and made average grades in school. She basically supported my dream of being in the sports media from the day the idea hatched when I was about five years old. From moving me to Austin to allowing me to live an obscenely sports-centric life, she's been involved in everything for me along the way. No. 8 – Let the real NBA Finals begin... We've been waiting for it all year, but we finally get the Rockets/Warriors series that we've all been waiting for. Give me the Warriors in six. The Rockets have been poking the bear all year and I think they won't like what the bear does now that he's woken. I have a ton of respect for this Rockets team, but the Warriors are coming and they are going to bring hell with them. No. 9 – Eternal Randomness of the Spotty Sports Mind … ... Unless the Boston Celtics cool off, that team is going to the NBA Finals out of the East. That team is on a roll right now and the Cavs are too disjointed to beat them four out of seven times in my mind. ... Confession: With Webb Simpson basically running away with The Player's Championship, I think I watched about five minutes of golf this weekend. Congrats, Webb ... I guess. ... Confession: That's five more minutes than I watched of Major League Baseball over the weekend. ... I promise you guys that when Liverpool wins the Champions League Final in two weeks, I will not be insufferable about it. ... Man City got to 100 points. Tip of the cap this morning to that team. Wow. ... Did Antonio Conte deliberately try to lose yesterday for Chelsea? My eye's popped out of my head when I saw that he had Ross Barkley in the starting line-up in a critical game with a lot potentially on the line. It felt like a middle finger to management to me. ... Really enjoyed watching the Bundesliga's final Saturday of the season on Goal-Zone (which is similar to the NFL's Red Zone Channel). Lots of goals with lots of the line. It was two hours well-spent, which was nearly two hours more of my time than I spent watching golf and baseball combined. No. 10 – And Finally … I've evolved into a boring 41-year-old man. My wife took the kids to Houston this weekend, leaving me home alone for more than 48 hours and what I learned is that without my family, I'm just a bored out of my mind old. Instead of getting out of the house or trying to organize something with friends, I just bummed around the house on Friday and Saturday, watching pieces of about 15 different movies. (Just for the record, I watched all of You've Got Mail.) No poker. No friends. No strip clubs. No partying. Just wishing I was with my family when I finally had a day of quiet.