The "Total Defense" Problem

They say that "defense wins championships". In college football recently, that has been true.

National Champs Total Defense
Team Yds/Gm Rank Year
ALA 245.4 2 2009
FLA 285.3 9 2008
LSU 288.8 3 2007
FLA 255.4 6 2006
TEX 302.9 10 2005
USC 279.3 6 2004
LSU 252.0 1 2003
OSU 320.9 23 2002
MIA 270.9 6 2001
OU 278.9 8 2000

As you can see, only 1 of the last 10 national champions was ranked outside of the Top 10 in total defense, and only 1 allowed more than 303 yards per game - the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes. Even their defense wasn't terrible, as they came in at #23.

This favors TCU, Boise State, Ohio State, LSU, or Nebraska right now - teams that are near the top of the simulated BCS rankings right now, are allowing 275 yards per game or less, and are still undefeated.

So the question is, where does that leave an Oklahoma team that is #93 in the country in total defense so far in 2009, allowing a ghastly 411.6 yards per game?

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