Why SEC Football Fans Should Root for Oregon to Run the Table
Alabama survived quite a scare on Saturday night in Death Valley. Thanks to quarterback AJ McCarron's heroics in the game-winning drive, the Crimson Tide escaped Baton Rouge with a 21-17 win and their BCS national championship hopes intact.
It was, perhaps, the biggest hurdle for head coach Nick Saban's crew to clear prior to the BCS National Championship Game.
According to ESPN.com's most recent projections, the Crimson Tide will face off against the Oregon Ducks in Miami Gardens, Fla., if both teams win out.
That's good news for the Crimson Tide, because while Oregon may blind people with its video game numbers on offense, that game wouldn't be close.
Just look at Oregon's recent history versus SEC defenses.
In Oregon's last two games against SEC foes—in the 2011 season opener vs. LSU and the 2011 BCS National Championship Game vs. Auburn following the 2010 season—the offense was neutralized because those two defenses successfully made those games SEC-style slugfests.
In those two games, the Ducks averaged just 392 yards of total offense and 23 points, 143.25 yards per game and 25.5 points per game fewer than they have averaged over the last two-plus seasons.
That's not to say that Oregon's offense is gimmicky, but it doesn't match up well against SEC defenses that are fast, physical and fully capable of defending football going north and south, and east and west.
The timing of both of those games allowed LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis and then-Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof plenty of time to scheme against Oregon's spread. Alabama, the team that Oregon would likely face in the BCS National Championship Game, is 14-4 with more than a week to prepare under current head coach Saban.
The tempo at which the Ducks operate will certainly skew their defensive statistics, which is why you see Oregon ranked 51st in total defense (380.8 YPG) but in the top 20 nationally in opponent third-down conversion percentage (31.43 percent) and opponent plays of 30 or more yards (5).
What team would be Alabama's easiest matchup in the BCS National Championship Game?
But that defense was exposed by USC on Saturday night in L.A. to the tune of 615 total yards and 31 first downs. Good defenses don't let that happen.
I know Matt Barkley is a stud, Marqise Lee is a Heisman candidate and Robert Woods is the best No. 2 wide receiver on the planet, but that's 169 yards more than USC was averaging on the season.
That's not a statistical anomaly. It's just bad defense.
Oregon is a good team, but its personnel and scheme don't match up well with the SEC—particularly with Alabama's front seven and its offensive line.
If you're an SEC fan, you should be more concerned about a team that can spread it out and play smash-mouth, SEC-style football.
You know, a team like Kansas State.
The SEC's unprecedented streak of national titles has to come to an end at some point, but if Alabama plays Oregon for the crystal football on Jan. 7, it will be extended to seven.
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