Defense Name of the Game In SEC

By Adam Caparell - September 22, 2006


It’s no surprise that the best conference in the country is also home to the best defenses in the country. The SEC has four teams in the AP Top 10 and the same four teams among of the top 21 defenses in the nation.

LSU, Georgia, Florida and Auburn are punishing their opponents.

Georgia has pitched two straight shutouts and will be going for its third in a row for the first time since 1971. LSU has allowed just one touchdown in three games. Auburn has given up only two TDs and Florida is allowing a paltry 222.7 yards of offense per game.

"These are the best defenses in the country,” Gators coach Urban Meyer said. “I've been fortunate to coach against some very good teams from several different conferences. Obviously there's great defenses everywhere, but I think this is the best defensive league, top to bottom. There are some very well coached teams here."

Weekend Predictions

Ohio State (-16.5) over Penn State
Ohio State has revenge on their mind after last year’s defeat at the hands of Penn State. Buckeyes are going to blow Penn State out of the water and abuse the Nittany Lions secondary, something Joe Paterno was very concerned about this week. Penn State hasn’t won in Ohio Stadium since joining the Big Ten. I don’t see the Nittany Lions covering.

Michigan (-13) over Wisconsin
The Wolverines are faced with a tough challenge off of their emotional win over Notre Dame. Wisconsin has been a middle of the road team in the Big Ten and, on paper, Michigan should have its way with the Badgers, but this is a conference game. The Wolverines defense is one of the best they’ve had in years and I think momentum carries over.

South Florida (+4) over Kansas
This one’s off the beaten path a little bit, but when I saw it, I immediately said “upset.” The Jayhawks haven’t exactly played up to the increased expectation levels so far, barley beating Louisiana-Monroe and needing two overtimes to knock off Toledo. Kansas QB Kerry Meier looks to be a game time decision after injuring his arm against Toledo. Backup Adam Barmann hasn’t played in a year. South Florida has the 27th ranked defense in the country – albeit against some less than stellar competition. But the Bulls have a pretty good linebacking corps and the Big East has, for the most part, played well out of conference. The Big 12 hasn’t. Bulls upset on the road.

Cal (-8) over Arizona State
I’m not sold on Arizona State and Rudy Carpenter just yet. The Sun Devils defense is more than formidable, but will they be able to contain Marshawn Lynch and the Bears offense? I say no. These two teams are the two highest passing squads in the Pac-10 and Nate Longshore has played much better since the Tennessee debacle. Cal is just a better team and, at home, that should be enough.

Notre Dame (-3) over Michigan State
While the Spartans have plenty of reasons to be motivated to knock off the Irish – the Charlie Weis comments most notably – I can’t see Notre Dame losing back-to-back games. Michigan State has a pretty good offense, and the Notre Dame defense looked pretty bad last week, but the image of the Spartans planting their flag in the middle of Notre Dame Stadium is still on the minds of the Irish and Weis. Notre Dame in a close one.

Last Week: 4-1
Season: 11-5

Posted by Adam Caparell at 05:31 PM on September 22, 2006
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