LSU vs. Alabama: Is This Tide Defense the Best of the BCS Era?

Sanjay KirpalaniNational Recruiting AnalystJanuary 10, 2012

The Crimson Tide led the nation in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense, and scoring defense this season
The Crimson Tide led the nation in total defense, rushing defense, passing defense, and scoring defense this seasonRonald Martinez/Getty Images

Coming into the showdown for the BCS national championship between Alabama and LSU, many wondered which team possessed the better defensive unit.  

The Tigers seemingly seized an edge in that debate by virtue of its 9-6 overtime victory over the Crimson Tide on Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa.  

However, after the Tide exacted its revenge in a 21-0 beatdown of the Tigers in the Superdome, Nick Saban’s defense put an emphatic stamp on its claim as the nation's best en route to claiming the school’s second national championship in three years.  

With the Tide's demolition of the previously unbeaten Tigers in their rear view mirror, now the questions are raised about their defense's place in history.  

Is this Crimson Tide defense the best in the BCS era of college football? 

A quick glance at some mind-boggling statistics should help reinforce their case after their dominant display in New Orleans: 

Alabama led the nation in total defense (183 yards per game), rushing defense (72 yards per game), passing defense (111 yards per game) and scoring defense (only 8.3 points allowed per game). 

Additionally, the Crimson Tide defense only allowed nine touchdowns all season (only three via the ground) – to put that in perspective, Clemson allowed 10 touchdowns in their bowl game!  

Their shutout of LSU is the first time in the history of the BCS National Championship game that one team has failed to score any points. 

Only two years removed from Alabama's undefeated championship season in 2009, Saban wasted little time in putting together a roster that’s loaded with NFL talent, yet plays with the discipline of a veteran NFL unit.  

A host of Crimson Tide defenders will likely be selected in the first two rounds of April’s NFL draft. 

Only time will tell if Alabama’s defenders will dominate in the professional ranks like the members of Miami’s 2001 team. 

However, that Hurricanes squad included, no one in the BCS era can come close to the body of work put together by the Crimson Tide this season.