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Deke: In college football, defense STILL wins championships!
by Deke Bellavia,posted Dec 30 2011 12:51PM
If you look at the way the game of football has changed today, the rules and the networks have made football “made for TV.” What I’m saying is that all levels, football is now more offensive than ever.
In the NFL the offensive has been the reason why teams have won Super Bowls. More often than not, NFL teams are having to score more points than ever before in the NFL's biggest game. However, that's still not the case in college football, even with all of the new rules.
In college football, defense still wins championships. In fact, the last five national championships have been won by Southeastern Conference football teams, and you know that the SEC teams are the kings of defense in the NCAA.
Even in last year’s national title game it was defense that was the theme, as the high-powered Auburn Tigers needed just 22 points to knock off an Oregon team that averaged 49.3 points per game. The Tigers went on to beat the Ducks 22-19.
Yes, even in last year’s game that featured two teams that scored over forty points on average, it came down to defense. With that said, the most diehard defensive fan has to be impressed with this match-up of the Tigers and Tide.
All season long both Alabama and LSU have been led by superior defensive units that will be on display with the world watching on January 9. Each team is stacked with All-American players and future stars of the National Football League. I think that both of these defensive units feature some of the best play-makers we have seen in college football.
Going into the national title game here is how these power defensive units stack up against each other: Alabama allows only 8.8 points per game, while LSU gives up 10.5 per game. Alabama gives up 191 yards per game, and LSU gives up 252.
Both the Tigers and Tide are salty against the run. The Tigers allow just 85.5 yards rushing per game, while the Tide surrenders a meager 74.9. LSU gives up on average 166.6 yards passing, and the Tide allows only 116.3.
The glaring difference is the way each team takes the ball away from their opponents. Alabama is impressive, as the Tide has forced eighteen turnovers this season. Alabama has picked off twelve passes and forced and recovered eight fumbles. The Tide is plus six in the turnover differential this season.
But what LSU has done is downright scary! The LSU Tigers are plus twenty-two this season in the turnover differential. LSU has forced and recovered twelve fumbles this season, and the Tigers have picked off eighteen passes for a total of thirty forced turnovers this season.
And when you look back at the first meeting between these two teams, the Tide started out plus two in the game. But then, the Tigers got a Mo Claiborne interception, followed by the play of the season as Eric Reid picked off a Tide pass that allowed LSU to finish the game even in the turnover battle.
So when it is all said and done between the Tigers and Tide, it would be hard for me to imagine either team winning without being at least even in the turnover battle!