Now that the season is nearly a month behind us and I have finally come down from my championship high, I would like to pay tribute to an utterly fantastic defense.
Midway through the season, I wrote about how this defensive unit had the potential do great things.
At the end of the season, the hard work, contributions and perseverance of this group of men proved paramount to the accomplishments of a truly unified unit.
Still, it seemed that my prediction fell short of the reality.
The reality is the jaw-dropping stats put up by this defense. The reality is the defiance of what seemed like the impossible. The reality is being among the best defenses the University of Alabama has ever had the pleasure of enrolling.
The 2011 titanium wall of a defense became more than one of the best in Tide history. It made its mark as one of the best in college football history.
Looking at the final tallied stats of the most recent three Alabama National Championship teams, one cannot argue with the numbers:
(These stats were gathered from espn.com, rivals.com and rolltide.com.)
|Rush YPG Allowed||55.0||77.9||74.9|
|Pass YPG Allowed||139.2||163.8||116.4|
|Total YPG Allowed||194.2||241.7||191.3*|
How does the 2011 defense compare to 1961, 1992, and 2009?
*Fun Fact: This number stayed exactly the same from what is was after the Vandy game.
Other Fun Facts:
- Only nine offensive touchdowns (six passing, three rushing) were allowed all season.
- Only 18 points were allowed all season in the fourth quarter; 20 in the second quarter.
I would have loved to include the 1961 team in this table, but unfortunately, defensive statistics were not kept as well back then as they are today. The 1961 team had six total shutouts on the season, with five of them coming consecutively. It also only allowed an unheard of 25 total points the whole season (11 games).
While the statistics speak for themselves, there was one that held back the 2011 defense—a heartbreaking loss. The other three teams never experienced defeat.
However, there was another thing that the three other teams also never experienced—a shutout redemption, which made the prized crystal ball all the more sparkly.
All great championship teams have their highlight moment.
For the 2001 Miami Hurricanes, it was Boston College QB Brian St. Pierre's pass intercepted by defensive tackle Matt Walters. As Walters was going down, the ball was stripped by teammate Ed Reed, who took it 80 yards for the touchdown and also saved what could have been Miami's first loss.
For the 2011 Tide defense, it was the huge roar let out by LSU fans halfway into the fourth quarter, when LSU's offense finally made it across the 50 yard-line.
Records are broken every season. That's one thing that makes the college football season exciting. What makes it more exciting is when it's done by the Crimson Tide. The records broken by the Tide this season are ones that I don't see being broken anytime soon.
For next season's sake, I hope my prediction falls short again.