Commentary

How Alabama's defense stacks up

Crimson Tide's D could end the season as the best unit in the last 50 years

Updated: November 23, 2011, 6:30 PM ET
By Brad Edwards | ESPN Insider
Dont'a Hightower and Courtney UpshawKevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesDont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw lead a defense that is allowing only 8.4 points per game.

Much of the college football focus this week has been on the SEC having the top three teams in the BCS standings and that the national title game is probably going to be a rematch between two teams from that conference -- if not LSU-Alabama, then maybe Alabama-Arkansas.

It's the sixth week this season that the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide have together occupied the top two spots in the AP poll, and there's no secret that they've earned that respect from the voters by playing smothering defense. ESPN Insider's Brock Huard pointed out last week that a lack of offensive firepower within the SEC has contributed to this success, but the numbers being compiled by the Alabama and LSU defenses still aren't seen often.

LSU enters this week's contest against Arkansas, which has the SEC's top offense, allowing only 10.0 points and just 247.9 yards per game. Over the previous 10 seasons (2001-10), only one team -- USC in 2008 -- has been able to complete a season giving up 10 or fewer points and 250 or fewer yards per game. Therefore, it should be surprising that LSU doesn't lead the nation in either category ... and really isn't close to being on top in either.

The reason, of course, is that LSU is trailing Alabama, a team that is poised to produce some of the best defensive totals of all time.

• Analyzes college football and the CFB Playoff as part of ESPN's Stats & Information Group
• Analyst for both College GameDay on ESPN Radio and the ESPN College Football app