Pac-12 Football

USC and Oregon's Defense More Important Than Prolific Offense for National Title

EUGENE, OR - NOVEMBER 19: Wide receiver Robert Woods #2 of the USC Trojans scores a touchdown as defensive back Terrance Mitchell #27 and safety John Boyett #20 of the Oregon Ducks close in during the second quarter of the game at Autzen Stadium on November 19, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images
Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterSeptember 7, 2012

USC and Oregon's offensive firepower has many wondering whose offense is superior. The answer to which Pac-12 power is going to have the more prolific offense in 2012 is, quite simply, who flipping cares? Both teams have dynamic, attacking schemes that are going to tax defenses and put points on the board.

USC boasts two of the nation's best receivers, two quality running backs and a quarterback who has his name halfway engraved on the Heisman Trophy. Oregon has a redshirt freshman phenom, LaMike James 2.0 in Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas, one of the nation's most explosive players.

But so what?

I mean really, who cares which team outscores or outgains the other in the grand scheme of 12, 13 or even 14 games?

That didn't do a darn thing for Oregon in 2010, did it? The Ducks set the pace for the nation in total yards, and all they went home with was a sad face for getting bullied by a less than decent Auburn defense.

That didn't do a darned thing for Baylor, Oklahoma State or Oklahoma in the Big 12 a season ago, as all were in the top 10 in offense.

It didn't do much for Georgia Tech, which had the ACC's "most prolific" offense from a yardage standpoint and still went 8-5 with a bowl loss to Utah.

It also didn't stop Alabama or LSU, No. 31 and 86 respectively, from playing a for a national title. It isn't going to stop them this season either, as both teams are going to have a shot down the line to make the magic happen again—with their defense.

If you're looking for true separation and an edge, don't waste time wondering about who will score more. Yay, shootouts are fun! Sure, touchdowns are cute and they're nice and they make SportsCenter. However, as we've learned, scoring all the points in the world doesn't amount to a hill of beans if you cannot stop the opposition.

The real question that Oregon and USC need to answer in 2012 is who has the better defense, because that will be the deciding factor in their matchup and for their ceilings. If you're worried about which of the Pac-12 favorites finishes higher in points or yardage, then you're part of what's wrong with football fans. Stop reading stat sheets and slobbering over them, and start looking at how football games are won.

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