First a disclaimer - since the 2012 football season hasn't gotten underway yet, I had to use 2011 stats for this comparison. However, it was during the 2011 NCAA football season that I started getting a case of the red ass about this anyway.
I totally agree that the SEC, as a whole, has really good defensive teams. I feel like college football fans are beaten over the head with that on a fairly regular basis. What bothers me is that no one ever talks about the crappy offensive play that's going on in the SEC. (start the cause & effect debate here)
The OP last night from prevatt33 opened up this old wound, so I took a look at some offensive statistics on ESPN.
Alabama was touted as having the best defense in football last year, sent a bunch of players (several first rounders) to the NFL, etc.
Here's a look at the teams Alabama played last year, with their offensive ranking:
|Home||Kent State||W 48-7||119|
|Away||#23 Penn State||W 27-11||86|
|Home||North Texas||W 41-0||105|
|Home||#14 Arkansas||W 38-14||28|
|Away||#12 Florida||W 38-10||98|
|Away||Ole Miss||W 52-7||114|
|Home||#1 LSU||L 9-6 OT||57|
|Away||Mississippi State||W 24-7||72|
|Home||Georgia Southern||W 45-21||FCS Opp.|
|SEC Championship||#24 Auburn||W 42-14||91|
|National Championship||#1 LSU*||W 21-0||57|
On average, their opponents ranked 85th in the country. That doesn't include an FCS (formerly 1AA) opponent. Alabama did play one top 50 offensive team last year, in Arkansas (#28), and held them to only 14 points. That is definitely worth noting.
As a comparison, I took a look at Michigan's opponents from last year:
|Home||San Diego State||28-7||32|
|Away||#23 Michigan State||28-14||35|
|Sugar Bowl||#11 Virginia Tech*||23-20 OT||24|
To give this some perspective, the 57th ranked offense in the country last year was LSU. To be fair, LSU wasn't a great offensive team last year. The 85th ranked offense in the country last year was Miami of Ohio. Miami of Ohio was the 10th best defense in the MAC! That's, on average, the type of offensive team that Alabama played last year.
This post is meant to serve two purposes:
1 - debunk the myth that is "The Great SEC DEFENSE". They're good, but like most things SEC they're over-hyped.
2 - provide another reason to believe that, despite all of the experts' opinions, Michigan will win on Saturday night.
All things considered, I think Michigan's defense stacks up well against Alabama's.
You may continue your cause & effect debate below: