- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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The fans have spoken and it appears that numbers really never lie, as Alabama's defense was picked by our readers in our SportsNation poll as the best the SEC had to offer in 2012.
With more than 16,500 votes cast, Alabama took 38 percent of the vote, while Florida's defense was second with 28 percent. In a bit of a surprise, South Carolina was third with 15 percent of the vote, while LSU was next with 12 percent. The category of other took home just seven percent of the vote.
Despite some issues with its secondary, Alabama ended the season with the nation's No. 1 total defense and rushing defense. Alabama was second nationally in scoring defense and allowed just 4.09 yards per play. Alabama surrendered 20 points or more just twice on the season.
Florida's defense could have taken the crown, but the Gators did give up nearly 40 more yards and two more points a game than Alabama. Still, the Gators were the only team in the SEC to not allow an opposing team to register 400-or-more yards in a single game this season.
LSU had the better year statistically than South Carolina, but when you have a player like Jadeveon Clowney roaming around on defense, it's easy to see why fans liked what the Gamecocks did in 2012. Plus, that relatively young secondary stepped up considerably this season, which was a bit of a surprise to some people.
Yet again, there were a handful of very talented defenses in the SEC this fall, but the fans chose Alabama as the league's top defensive unit. You could say that Florida's defense was more consistent through the year, but Alabama's defense had solid overall numbers even after losing a considerable amount of NFL talent from last year's squad.
Honestly, anyone would be very satisfied owning any of these defenses.
16hAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf
4dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf
4dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough