Everyone has heard the old cliche, "Offense wins games, defense wins championships."
As overused as that phrase is, it wouldn't be a cliche if it weren't true. More often than not you will see that the teams annually vying for a conference championship and BCS appearance have a consistently solid unit keeping the other team out of the end zone.
The bottom line is no matter how good you are on offense, you must have at least a serviceable defense to have a chance. And while you must have a good balance on offense and defense to get over the hump, it's no secret that a dominant defense will get you a long way on its own.
The 2011 college football season will see a lot of great defenses, but only a select few will be considered the nation's best. Here is a list of one team from each BCS AQ conference whose defense will dominate the rest of its respective conference—and maybe even the rest of the country.
Note: Independents not included; defensive rankings based on national "points against" ranking.
Sources: ESPN.com, NationalChamps.net