Alabama Football: Breaking Down Crimson Tide's Near-Flawless Defense

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IOctober 17, 2012

Sep 1, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Adrian Hubbard (42) looks to the sidelines for a signal with defensive end Damion Square linebacker C.J. Mosley (32) and Nico Johnson (35) against the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide have not lost in nearly a year, having won 10 straight games overall and surrendering more than 14 points in a game just once during that time.

The defending BCS national champions have recorded three shutouts during their lengthy winning streak as well, establishing their defense as one of the most dominant in the history of college football. 

So, what makes the Tide's defensive unit so feared and near flawless?

Here we will analyze all the ways that Alabama's defense is able to consistently shut down its opponents.


Scoring Defense

If you can't score, you can't win, and that's the motto Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and his defense have lived by over the past few seasons in Tuscaloosa.

No team has scored more than 14 points against the Crimson Tide since November 19, 2011. Michigan put up two touchdowns in the two teams' 2012 season opener, and Ole Miss scored 14 in a 19-point loss in Tuscaloosa last month. But that's as potent as anyone's been against the Tide offensively since. 

Check this out: In six games, Alabama has allowed a total of 45 points. That's right, the Tide are surrendering just 7.5 points per game on average, good enough to rank them No. 1 in the nation. 

Smart has picked up right where he left off a year ago, shutting out LSU in the BCS National Championship Game, 21-0. I think we can officially say that Alabama's loss to the Tigers in the "Game of the Century" last November was the best thing that ever could have happened to the Crimson Tide.


Takeaway Threat

Alabama's defense has been one of the more opportunistic units in college football this season. The Crimson Tide have forced 18 turnovers in six games this fall. 

Nick Saban's defense has failed to force a turnover in only one game this season and is averaging three takeaways per game, which is enough damage to do in any offense in America. Alabama's most dominant outing was at Arkansas on September 15, when it forced an incredible five turnovers. 

Clearly, the ability to consistently force turnovers has added another dimension to the Crimson Tide's already frightening defense this season. Even when a team comes along and figures out how to actually move the ball on Alabama, critical errors are seemingly inevitable when playing the Tide.


Killing Drives

Opposing teams rarely move the ball down the field against Alabama. It's no surprise, either, when you consider that Nick Saban's defense has allowed a total of 1,087 yards in six games this season. That equates to a tad over 181 total yards allowed per week.

On average, Alabama has given up nearly 126 passing yards per game this season, while the other 55 yards have come on the ground against the Tide's NFL-caliber defensive front.

It's nearly impossible to win when a team's averaging 45 yards per quarter, but throw in the Tide's stout red-zone scoring defense and its takeaway threat, and you have a formula for total defensive dominance.

Whether playing at home or on the road, Alabama's opponents simply don't stand a chance when it takes the field on offense.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter for more college football predictions, analysis and reaction. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter