There has long been a conspiracy that college football is about offense while the NFL is about defense. The idea that NCAA football and defense can’t coexist or that it is only played at Alabama is wrong. The folks in Ann Arbor know that Michigan is proving that they have a powerhouse defense time and time again this season.
In 2014 the Wolverines went 5-7. The team was towards the bottom of the Big 10 and slipping. They parted ways with Brady Hoke and it seemed as though it may be a time of rebuild in Southern Michigan. Michigan has made a quick 180 since then. Jim Harbaugh returned to his Alma Mater to coach and has gone 16-3 since his return, 6-0 this season.
While their offense may be flashy and dominant, their defense is what will help them compete for a title. In their six games so far this season, they have held three of those teams to under seven points and five of them under 15 points. The Wolverines lead all of the NCAA in points against per game allowing only 10.3 points per game. Along with that they have given up 62 points this season which is fourth in the nation and the only teams in front of them have played five games as opposed to their six. They also are the national leaders in pass yards allowed per game and the contest isn’t that close. Michigan allows 113 pass yards per game the next closest being Virginia Tech giving up 132 pass yards per contest. Their tough test against Wisconsin two weeks back followed by a blowout of Rutgers assured my feelings that defense wins college football games just as much as offense. But that’s not to say that Michigan is the only team that has inspired my faith in defense across the NCAA.
Lets not forget about another Big 10 powerhouse that has also flashed defensive dominance in Ohio State. The Buckeyes have started off their season 5-0 but have possibly their toughest test yet tonight when they face eighth ranked Wisconsin in Madison. Ohio State has impressed on the road this season though as they already knocked off Oklahoma just three weeks ago boosting them to second in the AP Poll. The Buckeyes defensive stats look very similar to the Wolverines. They are second in points against per game allowing 10.8, first in points against with 54, and fifth giving up 148 pass yards per contest.
College Football and defense are two things that can coexist. Its no coincidence that right now the playoff contenders also own the best defenses in the nation. November 26th Michigan faces off against Ohio State. With major playoff potential we will see who has the best defense when the two powerhouses battle it out on the gridiron.