ed. - bumped from the fanposts
As I've posted a few times before, my favorite two quick statistics for evaluating a team's overall ability are rushing defense and scoring defense. Reasons why:
When a team can stop the run, they can win any given game. Likewise, if a team cannot stop the run, they can lose any given game.
When a team is ahead a lot, the other team stops running and throws.
If your defense is also good at sacking the QB, that helps the run D in college too.
If your offense holds the ball a long time, it helps the rushing D and scoring D
Finally, if your rushing D is great but you can't stop the pass, your scoring D will be terrible. Sometimes, a terrible scoring D and great running D is not an indication of a great running D, but a horrible passing D, and teams simply opt to throw against you.
Therefore, I've always found that the combination of great rushing D and great scoring D is a strong indication of how good a team really is, regardless of their overall record.
2/3 of the way through the season, how does Alabama stack up overall, and how do their future opponents stack up?
Currently, Bama ranks #2 in the nation in rushing D at 62 YPG, a nifty 2.63 YPC. Incidentally, they've only given up ONE rushing TD, which is the best in the country. Given the combination of these two items, it is arguable that Bama has the best rushing D in the country right now.
In scoring D, Bama sits at #10 at 13.8 ppg. Good, though not great. I know some TDs come from garbage time/special teams breakdowns for us, but they do for the other teams, too. This relatively high score comes from our well known lapses in the second half for several games this year.
Overall, you can see why Bama is undefeated. This record is not an accident but an indication that we are a quality team (no surprise there!) Compare to another undefeated team, Texas Tech, and you see they are only #14 in rushing D and # 39 in scoring! Not a team I would consider a great one, by this means.
Anyway, looking ahead LSU is a paltry # 68 in scoring D and #27 in rushing D. Auburn, # 13 in scoring, but only #51 in rushing, and those are the top two teams left on our schedule. If we make it to Atlanta, we see that Florida is #15 against the rush and #6 in scoring, while Georgia is #6 against the rush and # 36 in scoring!
What will this mean? By my quick and dirty metric, I'd say we will be favored to win each of our remaining games. We should be able to score on either LSU and Auburn, as well as eat the clock if we are ahead in the second half. Should we make it to Atlanta, we will have to pass against Georgia and run against Florida to win, but should be favored in either.
By the way, Texas is # 3 against the rush, but #28 in scoring, for what it's worth.