The Top 10 Defenses In College Football
The Top 10 Defenses In College Football
Many college football fans have talked a great length about the influx of offense across the nation. Maybe it's because so many teams are running the no-huddle with a base from some form of the spread, but it seems like there has been more offensive talk this season than any of the years past. Offenses are on record pace and defensive coordinators continue to lose sleep. The conversation has many talking points; is it an evolution within the game? Is it good for the game? What defensive scheme can stop a high octane attack? Does the no-huddle pace make the risk for injury higher?
Let's focus on the top defenses that have continually stepped up in the era of offense this season. Instead of doing a ranking system that just goes down the list 1-10 in one specific defensive stat category, which would give the reader no extra knowledge, I have created a simple system to rank defensive squads.
All I've done is add up each team's rank in five key stat categories and which ever team has the lowest combined number in total, scoring, rushing and passing defense, along with turnovers gained, gets the highest overall ranking.
For instance, let's use the Colorado Buffaloes as an example to show just how far away they are from the number one ranking when you read it in this piece. When you add up the Buffs' rankings in total defense (121), scoring defense (124), rushing defense (103), passing defense (119) and turnovers gained (81), their total comes to 548. This is very devastating when you see how the other teams' numbers in the top 10 add up.
BYU Cougars, 123
The BYU Cougars have one of the best rushing defenses in the nation. Teams have managed just below three yards per rushing play. Last week, the Cougars faced the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets’ power option offense that was ranked third in the nation and held them to just 117 yards on the ground. The Yellow Jackets couldn’t even convert on third down.
Mississippi State Bulldogs, 122
The Mississippi State Bulldogs had the best turnover margin in the nation before they encountered an Alabama Crimson Tide offense that would give any defense some trouble. They fell from first to sixth nationally, which is still obviously impressive. They have the task of containing Johnny Manziel tomorrow and if they can hold Johnny Football to limited yards, their defensive legitimacy will grow.
Florida State Seminoles, 95
The Florida State Seminoles’ defense has been as good as advertised. They have held opposing teams to under 20 points eight times this season. FSU ranks No. 2 in total defense and third in scoring defense, but they haven’t been able to create many turnovers. The Seminoles are holding offenses to three and outs 49.2% of the time.
Bowling Green Falcons, 84
Yes, the Bowling Green Falcons are on this list. During a five game stretch this season they only allowed 33 points and their defense has put them in position to make a run at the MAC championship. They lead the MAC in total sacks (25) as well as points allowed (15.2 per game). Chris Jones has been nothing less than stellar as he is tied for the nation lead in sacks.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 84
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are playing stingy defense in the Big East. They currently rank seventh in scoring defense and despite having a rough game against the Kent State Golden Flashes last Saturday; their run defense is still ranked sixth in the nation. You can point to the fact the seven victories have come against teams with a combined record of 22-33, but they’re getting the job done and have performed well above expectations.
Boise State Broncos, 82
With the amount of turnover the Boise State Broncos had, no one expected them to be a legit player in the BCS picture, but here they are ready to crash the party once again. The defense has been better than anyone predicted. The unit ranks at the top in scoring defense, passing efficiency defense and total defense in the Mountain West. This is an aggressive squad that is allowing just 16 points a game.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 72
When the Notre Dame Fighting Irish held a Oklahoma Sooners’ offense that averages 44.7 points a game to just 13, many started to take them more as serious contenders. The Irish are second only to Alabama in points allowed per game (9.9). The one question mark about the defense was how the secondary would hold up against a team that was actually a threat in the air and they completely shut-down Landry Jones. Who’s next?
Florida Gators, 63
Points haven’t come easy against the Florida Gators’ defense. They are fourth in the nation allowing just 12 points a game. Before their loss to the Georgia Bulldogs, the Gators were able to do just enough on offense and let the defense punish opposing teams in route to victories. Despite the loss, Florida is still sixth in the nation in yards allowed per game.
LSU Tigers, 35
The LSU Tigers are still very much in the national title hunt and it might have to be on the back of their defense that propels the possibility. The Tigers have forced 21 turnovers and committed 23 sacks. Opponents have only been able to convert 40/125 on third and fourth down conversions. LSU also has 3 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season.
Alabama Crimson Tide, 9
No surprise here, right? The Crimson Tide are way ahead when you combine the numbers. The sheer dominance of this unit is astounding. Alabama is No. 1 in total and scoring defense nationally, No. 2 against the pass, No. 1 versus the run, and No. 1 in scoring defense. Tide opponents are 34/121 on third and fourth down conversions. Touchdowns are not easy to come by in the redzone either, as opponents are just 8/15 scoring in the red zone with 6 touchdowns.