LSU vs. Alabama: Who Has the Better Defense?

Dr. SECAnalyst IIOctober 24, 2011

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 01:  Tyrann Mathieu #7 of the Louisiana State University Tigers strips the ball from Maxwell Smith #11 of the Kentucky Wildcats during a game being held at Tiger Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

As the most anticipated regular season college football game in recent memory approaches, it would be far easier to walk on broken pieces of glass than to get either the LSU or Alabama fanbases to concede that the opposing team is superior in any facet of the game.

This statement has even more truth when you talk about the defensive units for each team.  Comparing stats brings very little closure to the topic because of the different type of teams each program has faced.

Alabama has only played one offense with a pulse this season, and that was Arkansas.  The Tide defense played well but Razorback quarterback Tyler Wilson was 22-for-35 with two touchdowns and one interception. 

Wilson did not play bad, but Alabama definitely kept him in check. As a result, no one should take anything away from how well the Tide defense played. At the same time, it should be noted that Arkansas is a one dimensional team because of the preseason injury to stud running back Knile Davis.

Because of the Razorbacks' lack of running game, they are a one-dimensional team. This allowed Nick Saban to scheme without having to respect the running game.

LSU, on the other hand, has faced two teams that have efficient offenses in the Oregon Ducks and the West Virginia Mountaineers.  In both games, the Tigers shut down their opponents running game. However, in both games they gave up a high number of passing yards. West Virginia and Oregon combined for 703 passing yards in the two games.

However, it should be mentioned that the two opposing quarterbacks attempted 119 passes during those two games.

Most of the yards gained on LSU this season have been during blowouts when the LSU coaching staff put them in a prevent defense.  Moreover, both of LSU’s tough games were against teams on the road not in the comfort of their home stadium.

Statistically speaking, both teams lead the SEC in various categories. Alabama has been better in total yards and points. The Tigers, on the other hand, have been better at sacking the quarterback and producing turnovers.

Florida Gators running back Trey Burton was asked on Twitter which defense was better and he responded, “Alabama’s hands down a lot better. A lot more physical, just tougher guys.” He would later tweet, “If I had to pick one to not go against, it’d definitely be Alabama.”

As a running back, I am sure he would rather face the Tigers. Alabama is clearly the bigger and more physical team. However, does that make them better? In my opinion, it does not. While Alabama will hit you harder, I believe LSU is more disruptive.

In my opinion, these defenses are equal but different. If I needed a defense to win one game, I would choose LSU. If I needed a team for a season, I would choose Alabama.  

The reason I say this is because Alabama is so physical they send fear into opposing teams before they ever step on the field. On the other hand, LSU has the best defensive playmaker in the nation in Tyrann Mathieu.