Since Notre Dame is a certainty to be playing in the BCS National Championship, it is definitely not too early to look ahead and compare the Irish defense to its two possible opponents.
The winner of the SEC Championship between Alabama and Georgia will get its shot at the Fighting Irish. It will be a defensive battle.
There is no question that these are three of the better defenses in college football and when it comes to Alabama and Notre Dame, its the top two.
Statistically speaking, Georgia ranks 18th in the country, allowing 339.6 yards a game, and while the defense is clearly the weakest of the three, it is still one of the best in the nation.
The Bulldogs are only allowing 18 points a game, ranking 14th in all of the land. Not many people are aware of just how talented Georgia is on the defensive side of the ball.
While they are certainly not in the same class as Alabama and Notre Dame, the unit is very serviceable, ranking in the top five in the SEC.
For Georgia, the defense has continued to improve, led by linebacker Jarvis Jones. Jones is one of the best in the country, and has led a defense that has only allowed 43 points over its past five games.
There is no question the Georgia defense would give Notre Dame trouble, but a unit that would without question give it fits is that of the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Alabama is the best defense in the country, statistically speaking. The Crimson Tide are first in the nation, only allowing 240 yards a game.
The group also ranks first in the country, only allowing 10.1 points a game. The unit has been a model of consistency the entire season, pitching four shutouts. They have also only allowed over 17 points one time all season.
These are astronomical numbers, at least in this day an age and will be hard to duplicate by any team in the coming years.
It would be very difficult for Notre Dame to put many points on the board against Alabama.
While Georgia and certainly Alabama have outstanding defenses, the best in all of the land might just reside in South Bend.
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish rank second in points, allowing 10.3 a game. The unit is also near the top in total defense, ranking sixth, while allowing 286.8 yards a game.
What sets the Notre Dame unit apart from the rest is a front seven that is the best in the country. The group is led by linebacker Manti Te'o but also has plenty of beef along the interior of that defensive line.
The group has been especially great toward the end of the season, allowing only 19 points over the final three games.
While Alabama has a defense that is a little more stingy when it comes to yards, nobody can argue that the Notre Dame unit has made more big plays in clutch situations, including multiple goal-line stands to keep its perfect record intact.
A few more of those goal-line stands and Notre Dame will find itself BCS National Champions six weeks from now.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!