BCS Bowl Games 2012-13: Power Ranking Most Lethal Offensive and Defensive Units

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 11, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 17:  Manti T'eo #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish encourages the crowd to cheer during a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Stadium on November 17, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 38-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Some of college football's most lethal offensive and defensive units will be on display this bowl season, but the best will be saved for last.

The two best defenses in the country in Alabama and Notre Dame will square off in the biggest game of the year on Jan. 7. The two defenses are the only units in college football that are allowing less than 11 points per game coming in.

But don't underestimate what an exciting offense can do.

Here we power rank the most lethal BCS bound offensive and defense units. 



No. 3. Florida State Seminoles

Florida State's defensive crew is often viewed as its most lethal unit, but the truth is that the Seminoles' offense is just as talented. 

Jimbo Fisher's offense is averaging nearly 466 total yards and 40 points per game in 2012. The ACC champions boast a balanced attack as well. Florida State is averaging more than 200 yards on the ground and through the air this season. 

The 'Noles have a polished playmaker under center in quarterback E.J. Manuel, and two gifted running backs in Devonta Freeman and James Wilder Jr.

It may not get the credit that the defense does, but Florida State's offensive unit is one of the top three set to face off in a BCS bowl this coming January.


No. 2. Northern Illinois Huskies

The Northern Illinois Huskies have been one of the biggest surprises this college football season, and will head to the Orange Bowl to take on Florida State this January. 

What makes the MAC champions so lethal, though, is their impressive offensive unit, led by quarterback Jordan Lynch. The junior signal-caller ranks second in the country in total yards per game (364.1) and leads the entire nation in rushing yards (1,771) in 2012.

As a team, the Huskies rank ninth in scoring offense (40.8 points per game), and ninth in rushing offense, racking up a tad more than 250 yards per game. 

The 'Noles are sure to have plenty of problems defending the Huskies' offense this winter. Northern Illinois has won 12 straight games behind the strength of its offense. 


No. 1. Oregon Ducks

Oregon will field the most lethal offense in all of college football this January when it takes on Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl. The Ducks rank second in scoring offense (50.8 points per game), and fourth in total offense (550.1 total yards per game) in 2012.

The best aspect of Oregon's offense, though, is its rushing attack. The Ducks rank third nationally in rushing yards per game (323.3), and boast three extraordinary runners in Kenjon Barner, Marcus Mariota and De'Anthony Thomas.

The most incredible statistic regarding Oregon's offensive unit though is that only once this season have the Ducks failed to score at least 43 points in a game.

You won't come across a more potent and explosive offense than Oregon's in any of the five BCS bowl matchups this January. 



No. 3. Florida Gators

Will Muschamp's Florida Gators have been stellar defensively in the head coach's second season in Gainesville. The Gators rank third nationally in scoring defense in 2012, giving up just 12.9 points per game. 

Only three times all season did Florida allow 20 or more points. 

The Gators also rank fifth in total defense this year, surrendering just over 282 total yards per game. Only Florida State and Alabama have allowed fewer yards per play than Florida (4.3) in 2012. 

Defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd lead the Gators' dominant front seven into their Sugar Bowl matchup with Louisville this January. Florida's defense ranks sixth against the run, holding opponents to under 97 yards on the ground per game this season.


No. 2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

No defense in college football has allowed fewer points this season than the Notre Dame Fighting Irish's unit. Brian Kelly's defense is surrendering just 10.3 points per game in 2012, and has allowed a total of just 124 points in 12 wins in 2012.

Heisman Trophy finalist Manti Te'o anchors the Irish's superb group of stoppers. Te'o has 42 more tackles than any other Notre Dame defender this season, and leads all college linebackers with seven interceptions. 

The Irish also rank sixth in total defense, and are giving up just over 4.5 yards per play this year. 

Although Notre Dame's defense rarely bends, when it does it never breaks. Only one team (Pittsburgh in three overtimes) has scored more than 17 points on the Irish's defensive unit this season. That bodes well for their chances against defending national champion Alabama in this winter's title game.


No. 1. Alabama Crimson Tide 

Only Notre Dame has given up fewer points per game than the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2012. Kirby Smart's stout defensive unit is allowing just 10.7 points per game this year, and has shut out two of its last three opponents entering the bowl season.

The SEC champions also rank first in the country in total defense, surrendering just 246 total yards per game. Only Florida State is holding opponents to fewer yards per play than Alabama (4.1) this season.

Linebacker C.J. Mosley has been the engine for the Tide's strong defense all season long. Mosley leads the team with 99 total tackles, 43 more than any other Alabama defender. He also has four sacks and two interceptions to show for his effort. 

Alabama may not be first in every defensive category, but its proven against elite competition that it's hands-down the best defensive unit in college football. 

Only three teams have scored more than 14 points against the Crimson Tide in 2012. 


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

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