The BCS National Championship hosted two of the best offenses in the country, and for the month long wait up until the game, all we were hearing about was how great Auburn's and Oregon's offense were.
The game was a different story.
Just like the old saying, "Defense wins championships," the title game for 2010-11 was no different. Oregon had averaged nearly 50 points per game and was held to 19 points, with only eight points in the second half. Auburn was averaging almost 45 per game, and they were held to 22 points, with only six points in the second half.
You cannot be a great team without a good defense, and both Auburn and Oregon proved that in Glendale.
But, as we look to 2011, which defenses are going to help propel their teams up near the top?
Here is a look at the top five returning defenses for 2011.
Returning Starters: Five
2010 Yds Per Game: 228
2010 Yds Per Play: 4.18
2010 Points Per Game: 11.4
TCU only returns five starters from their defense in 2010.
That being said, three of them were all-league, and having a strong core of veterans with leadership is a major part to the success of a defense.
They held their opponents to 11.4 points per game and 228 yards per game, along with allowing only four yards per play.
I see the return of Stansly Maponga, Tanner Brock and Tank Carder being a huge part of the TCU success on the defensive side of the ball. I think they will need all the help they can get with the loss of key players on offense after their Rose Bowl victory.
Returning Starters: Seven
2010 Yds Per Game: 307
2010 Yds Per Play: 4.86
2010 Points Per Game: 17.8
Losing Patrick Peterson and Drake Nevis is definitely not going to help things, but they don't take a big hit from it.
LSU is almost a central hub for all of the best defensive players in the country, and it seems as if they reload year after year with the best talent from around the nation, and this year is no different.
They also return one of the best cornerbacks in the country with Morris Claiborne, along with the luck that always seems to be on the side of Coach Les Miles.
Again, it is LSU; have they ever been bad on the defensive side of the ball?
Returning Starters: Eight
2010 Yds Per Game: 306
2010 Yds Per Play: 4.57
2010 Points Per Game: 17.2
The biggest loss comes in their secondary, as Prince Amukamara graduates to the big money in the NFL.
They don't lose much though, and they return four All-Big 12 players who are ready to step in and take over the leadership of the defense. Although, after a sad performance against Washington (a team who they crushed at the start of the season) in their bowl game, it is unknown as to whether a good defense can carry this team to a top 10 spot in 2011.
They do return Crick, who just might be the best defensive linemen in college football next year, and that has bad news written all over it for the rest of the Big 12.
Returning Starters: Five
2010 Yds Per Game: 262
2010 Yds Per Play: 4.32
2010 Points Per Game: 13.3
Every year I always feel like the Buckeyes defense is going to be overrated, but every year they surprise me, and 2011 won't be any different.
They lose seven starters and a take a big hit from the loss of Cameron Heyward, but through good coaching and the talent that the Buckeyes always seem to possess, they deliver some of the best defenses year in and year out.
Etienne Sabino and Andrew Sweat will play key roles for the OSU defense in 2011, and any defense that is under the helm of Jim Tressel always seems to come through for the Buckeye fans.
Returning Starters: Ten
2010 Yds Per Game: 286
2010 Yds Per Play: 4.64
2010 Points Per Game: 14.1
Alabama was arguably the best defense in 2010.
That being said, I believe it is easy to say that they are going to be the best defense in 2011, after losing only Marcell Dareus, who will be rollin' in the big bucks and delivering hits on Sundays. Those who return include four players who were All-SEC (Mark Barron, Dont'a Hightower, Dre Kirkpatrick and Robert Lester) in 2010, and are for sure favorites for their honors in 2011.
If you think about how many top recruits that Alabama signs every year on the defensive side of the ball, and then add those to the 10 returning starters, you see why this is an easy choice for the top defense in 2011.