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Friday, May 21, 2010

Defense Wins Championships

Somewhat interesting post from Chris Low looking back at the last 10 years of SEC champions.

The stat that jumped out at me is this: Of the past seven conference winners, six have finished in the top 10 nationally in total defense. The lone exception? That'd be Georgia in 2005 (which was a very odd year because the Bulldogs also had the worst total offense finish of any team on the list that season).

And as Low points out -- even the SEC title game losers have strong defenses. In the last decade, only Tennessee's 2007 team stands out as particularly poor defensively (finishing 70th nationally) and only two others finished outside the national top 20.

In addition to the strong national finishes in total D, Georgia's 2005 squad is also the only one since 2002 not to finish among the three best defenses in the conference, too.

Of course, the 2005 season aside, what really matters is what's happened lately.

Here's Georgia's finish defensively each year since its last SEC title:

2006 -- 3rd SEC, 8th nationally
2007 -- 3rd SEC, 14th nationally
2008 -- 6th SEC, 22nd nationally
2009 -- 7th SEC, 38th nationally

It's also worth noting that just once in the past 10 years has an SEC champion finished in the top 10 nationally in total offense, and seven of the past 10 conference winners finished outside the top 20.

So while Aaron Murray will continue to get a lot of attention, it's probably safe to say that the best indication of how far Georgia can go this year will be how effectively Todd Grantham can put a stop to that downward trend on defense.


Lucid Idiocy said...

"3rd SEC, 8th nationally"

If that doesn't tell the tale of SEC football, I don't know what does.

Pete said...

You know what else wins championships? Blog posts...

Just kidding - everyone deserves a break, but come on, but do you expect me to do in the meantime, work?