NCAA Football

College Football: Top 15 Defenses in College Football

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Top 15 Defenses in College Football


Stats don’t lie…

Especially when it comes to defense...

If you want to see who the best teams are in the College Football

all you have to do is to pull the numbers on defense.

Sure a team can win games if it can score 80 points every game.

But it won’t win championships until it has a stellar defense.

There are a few team who just played a bear of a schedule and even though their record may not reflect it, they have an elite defense.

There are other teams that due to injuries or youth simply cannot move the ball, but their defense keeps them in every single game.

Simply, defense wins football games…

But before the Top Defenses are revealed, let’s take a look at the Nations Defensive Leaders in the different defensive categories for 2012.

Best Pass Defense – Michigan Wolverinies – 1309 total yards

Best Rushing Defense – Stanford Cardinal – 502 total yards

Interceptions – Fresno State Bulldogs – 17 picks

Defensive Touchdowns – SMU Mustangs – 6 touchdowns

Fewest Yards Per Game – Alabama Crimson Tide – 228.9 yards

Points Allowed Per Game – Alabama Crimson Tide – 9.1 points

Kind of surprising to see the Crimson Tide right?

(cue the fake sitcom laughter)

But how about the fact Stanford has only allowed 502 yards rushing in 9 games (that’s 55.8 yards per game if you are keeping score at home)…

So let’s jump right in and reveal the Top 15 Defense in College Football in 2012…

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No. 15 - Penn State Nittany Lions


With everything the Penn State Nittany Lions have had to deal with in 2012, somehow it has managed to fight to a 6-3 mark overall and 4-1 in the Big 10.

Penn State has gotten their on the strength of its defense who is No. 15 in points per game at 17.1.

They have given up 330 yards per game total, 1884 passing yards, 1024 rushing yards and have 7 interceptions.

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No. 14 - Vanderbilt Commodores

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Yes, the Vanderbilt Commodores have struggled…

But it’s defense has been stellar…

Vandy is holding teams to 17.1 points per game, 316.2 total yards per game, 1367 passing yards, 1479 rushing yards, 4 interceptions and a pair of touchdowns.

Pretty stinking good versus all those SEC opponents.

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No. 13 - Stanford Cardinal


All you need to know about the Stanford Cardinal is the following…

The Cardinal have given up just 502 yards rushing all season…



There are 40 teams that will give that up this Saturday.

In all Stanford gives up 16.6 points a game, 321.7 total yards a game, 2393 yards passing, has 11 picks and four touchdowns.

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No. 12 - South Carolina Gamecocks


The South Carolina Gamecocks have put together a great season on defense.

The Gamecocks are giving up 18.3 points per game, 303.2 yards, 1788 yards passing, 941 yards rushing, 10 interceptions and a touchdown.

Just solid…

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No. 11 - Maryland Terrapins



The Maryland Terrapins

Any team that has been through four quarterbacks due to injury and is currently starting a linebacker at quarterback gets some special consideration.

But the Terps don’t really need it…

Maryland gives up 21.7 points per game, 301.8 yards per game, 1724 passing yards, 992 rushing yards and has three interceptions .

Without this stellar defense, the Terps would probably be winless.

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No. 10 - Bowling Green Falcons


The Bowling Green Falcons are a force to be reckoned with no doubt.

The Falcons allow only 15.1 points per game, 285.4 yards per game, 1817 passing yards, 1037 rushing yards, nine interceptions and a pair of touchdowns.

That’s a D that can play with anyone in the country.

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No. 9 - LSU Tigers

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The LSU Tigers have relied on their excellent defense for years and 2012 is no exception.

The Tigers allow 15.3 points per game, 255.3 yards per contest, 1358 yards passing, 940 yards rushing, 13 interceptions and a pair of touchdowns.


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No. 8 - Boise State Broncos


The Boise State Broncos year in and year out find a way to always be in the top 10 in defense.

So far this year, the Broncos are giving up 14.4 points per game, 306.3 yard per game, 1432 passing yards, 1325 rushing yards, 12 picks and a pair of touchdowns.

Bronco power…

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No. 7 - Rutgers Scarlet Knights


And having a surprise season on both sides of the ball is the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.

But it’s the defense that has truly carried the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers is allowing 14.3 points per game, 306 total yard per game, 1740 passing yards, 708 rushing yards, 13 picks and a pair of touchdowns.

Stunning for a Big East team.

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No. 6 - BYU Cougars


Maybe quieter than anyone else in the country the BYU Cougars are a powerhouse on defense.

The Cougars are allowing only 14.3 points per game, 263.6 yards per game, 1510 yards passing, 862 yards rushing and has six picks.

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No. 5 - Utah State Aggies

Douglas C Piazc-US PRESSWIRE


The Utah State Aggies are a beast on defense.

For the 2012 season, the Aggies are allowing 13.5 points per game, 303.3 yards per game, 2087 yards passing, 946 yards rushing and has seven interceptions.

Stout no matter who you play.

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No. 4 - Florida Gators


The Florida Gators have had an elite defense all season.

And without it today, the Gators would have lost to the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns.

How amazing was that blocked punt and touchdown!

So on the season, Florida is giving up 12.1 points per game, 286.9 yards per game, 1679 passing yards, 903 rushing yards, has 15 interceptions and a touchdown.

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No. 3 - Florida State Seminoles


The pride of ACC Football is back in big-time fashion on defense in 2012.

The Florida State Seminoles are three deep with athletes at every position.

For the season, the ‘Nole are allowing just 13 points per game, 242.9 yards per game, 1686 passing yards, 743 rushing yards and has eight interceptions.

FSU is back and elite on defense.

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No. 2 - Notre Dame Fighting Irish


And let all the Notre Dame Fighting Irish haters begin to chatter in 3… 2… 1…

Folks… just face the facts…

The Irish are dominate on defense!

Notre Dame is allowing only 11.7 points per game, 294.7 yards per game, 1746 passing yards, 906 rushing yards and has 13 interceptions.

Simply crushing folks…

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No. 1 - Alabama Crimson Tide

Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

Surprise, surprise…


The Alabama Crimson Tide are simply the best team in the nation in every category, especially on defense.

Even if they are getting everything they can handle from the Texas A&M Aggies

The Tide are giving up only 9.1 points per game, 228.9 yards per game, 1463 passing yards, 597 yards rushing, has 15 picks and a touchdown.

Dominate and the reason why Alabama is the No. 1 team in the country at this point.


M Shannon Smallwood has over 10 years of experience in broadcasting and journalism in professional baseball and college athletics and is the ACC Football Guru, SEC Voice of Reason and College Football Comedian for Rant Sports. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.

Follow him @woodysmalls.