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TideSaint
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Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
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quote:

It will come as no surprise that Alabama is No. 1 on our list of the top defenses for the 2017 college football season, but it may be shocking that there are only two other SEC teams in the top 25 with the Crimson Tide. Rather, the ACC dominated the metrics with eight teams making the cut.

Based on where each team ranked nationally in 2016, it was given a score ranging from 0-10 in three categories: yards allowed per play, points allowed per game and turnovers forced. Those three scores were summed and then multiplied by a factor determined by the number of returning defensive starters. Hat tip to Phil Steele for projecting all those numbers in February.

The idea was to then sort the resultant total from top to bottom and list the top 25 defenses from there, but it ended up being more of a rough guide than a concrete hierarchy. After all, we had to also take into consideration players returning from injury and how difficult it will be for each team to replace the starters it lost.

In the end, though, all four teams from last year's College Football Playoff landed in the top 10 as they attempt to defend their way back to another national semifinal.


quote:

Honorable Mentions

LSU Tigers

The most surprising omission of the bunch, LSU came up just short due to a combination of too much roster turnover and not enough turnovers forced. The five team leaders in total tackles from last season are all gone, and star player Arden Key sat out spring practices for personal reasons.


25. Appalachian State
24. Wake Forest
23. Western Michigan
22. Indiana
21. NC State
20. Virginia Tech
19. Army
18. Utah
17. Minnesota
16. Boston College
15. Northwestern
14. BYU
13. Tulane

quote:

12. Florida Gators

What Makes Them Dangerous

Save for one dud against Tennessee, Florida's pass defense was second to none. Take out the 319 yards and four touchdowns that Joshua Dobbs threw against the Gators and they didn't allow an opposing team to throw for 250 yards or two scores in any game. Three of the key pieces of that secondary were second-round draft picks last month, but they still have Duke Dawson, Marcell Harris and several other guys ready to make the leap.

Room for Improvement

The rush defense was either a brick wall or Swiss cheese. In four of 13 games, the Gators held the opposition below 50 yards; but in seven of the other nine games, they gave up at least 170 rushing yards, including five games over 200 yards. Both in terms of sacks and tackles for loss, they were nationally in the middle of the pack.

2017 Projection


The Gators lost seven defenders to the NFL draft, leaving some serious questions at linebacker. But the biggest concern for this team's defense might be its own quarterback. Florida's anemic offense enabled its opposition to remain committed to the run. If redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks can lead the offense more efficiently than Austin Appleby and Luke Del Rio did in 2016, there's more than enough quality defense for the Gators to win the SEC East once again.


11. Miami
10. Louisville
9. Washington
8. San Diego State
7. Clemson
6. Troy
5. Wisconsin

quote:

4. Georgia Bulldogs

What Makes Them Dangerous

The sheer number of impact defenders that Georgia is bringing back from last season is just plain ridiculous. Of the 16 team leaders in tackles, defensive back Maurice Smith is the only one the Bulldogs lost. They were already 16th in the nation in total yards allowed per game. With an added year of conditioning and experience pretty much across the board, a leap into the top five hardly requires a stretch of the imagination.

Room for Improvement

It's great that the entire starting front seven is returning, but it was far from dominant last year. No player on the Bulldogs roster had more than 5.0 sacks and they had just 4.8 tackles for loss per game as an entire team. They didn't face LSU or Alabama, but they still gave up 24 rushing touchdowns and just a shade under 4.0 yards per carry.

2017 Projection

With 10 returning starters on defense as well as Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Jacob Eason on offense, Georgia has a legitimate shot at bouncing back from an 8-5 season to compete in the College Football Playoff. At the very least, the Bulldogs appear to be the team to beat in the SEC East, as they dodge both LSU and Alabama in the cross-over games for a second straight year. Get out to a hot start with wins over Appalachian State and Notre Dame and the sky's the limit.


3. Florida State
2. Ohio State

quote:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

What Makes Them Dangerous

In 30 games over the past two seasons, Alabama has allowed a total of 2,095 rushing yards. More than half of the teams in the country (74 of 128) gave up at least 2,095 rushing yards in just 12-14 games this past season.

Most teams would be in dire straits after losing the combined 63.5 tackles for loss that Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster, Ryan Anderson and Tim Williams took to the NFL. But at Alabama, it just means former 5-star recruits like Da'Shawn Hand, Daron Payne, Rashaan Evans and redshirt freshman Ben Davis step into the spotlight.

Room for Improvement

It's almost impossible to find fault in Alabama's defense, but the special teams weren't so special. Despite not allowing a return touchdown, the Crimson Tide ranked 103rd in yards allowed per punt return and 79th in yards allowed per kick return.

2017 Projection

With Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Harrison and Anthony Averett all returning, Alabama might have the best secondary in the nation. We'll see how long it takes the Crimson Tide to start firing on all cylinders in the front seven after losing seven of their 14 top tacklers from last season, but there's no doubt they'll rank among the best defenses in the nation, as per usual.




brett408
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Jan 2005
128 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
Well, that list is pure garbage.


roguetiger15
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2013
9677 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
LSU's defense is honorable mention?! LULLLLZZZZZZZZ


Montezuma
San Diego State Fan
Chapel Hill
Member since Apr 2013
1758 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
12. Florida
8. San Diego State

Never thought I would see that.


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190
RockyMtnTigerWDE
Auburn Fan
Co-Captain PosiBarners
Member since Oct 2010
68083 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
Well, I guess we will find out won't we.


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140
DoubleDown
Alabama Fan
New Orleans, Louisiana
Member since Oct 2008
8508 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
In a weird twist of fate, our secondary as a whole and our LB coverage in the flat should be good to great. However, our front 3-4 guys and run stuffing LBs should take some time to click. Hasn't been like this in about 4-5 years so this should be fun.


LSU Patrick
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2009
37680 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
I wonder why this is being posted here?


GameCocky88
South Carolina Fan
Columbia,SC
Member since Dec 2015
3051 posts
 Online 

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
quote:

4. Georgia Bulldogs

What Makes Them Dangerous

The sheer number of impact defenders that Georgia is bringing back from last season is just plain ridiculous. Of the 16 team leaders in tackles, defensive back Maurice Smith is the only one the Bulldogs lost. They were already 16th in the nation in total yards allowed per game. With an added year of conditioning and experience pretty much across the board, a leap into the top five hardly requires a stretch of the imagination.

Room for Improvement

It's great that the entire starting front seven is returning, but it was far from dominant last year. No player on the Bulldogs roster had more than 5.0 sacks and they had just 4.8 tackles for loss per game as an entire team. They didn't face LSU or Alabama, but they still gave up 24 rushing touchdowns and just a shade under 4.0 yards per carry.

2017 Projection

With 10 returning starters on defense as well as Nick Chubb, Sony Michel and Jacob Eason on offense, Georgia has a legitimate shot at bouncing back from an 8-5 season to compete in the College Football Playoff. At the very least, the Bulldogs appear to be the team to beat in the SEC East, as they dodge both LSU and Alabama in the cross-over games for a second straight year. Get out to a hot start with wins over Appalachian State and Notre Dame and the sky's the limit.


DoubleDown
Alabama Fan
New Orleans, Louisiana
Member since Oct 2008
8508 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
quote:

Well, that list is pure garbage.

Why, cause LSU isn't #1, #2 and #3? Go talk Baseball, we're talking Football - LSU need not speak.


1BamaRTR
Alabama Fan
Over Yonder
Member since Apr 2015
5174 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
No because it's a BR article


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271
DoubleDown
Alabama Fan
New Orleans, Louisiana
Member since Oct 2008
8508 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
quote:

LSU's defense is honorable mention?! LULLLLZZZZZZZZ

LSU was #10 last year in Total Defense. They lost a good bit too so it's possible.


lsufball19
LSU Fan
Nashville, TN
Member since Sep 2008
21074 posts
 Online 

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
quote:

Why, cause LSU isn't #1, #2 and #3? Go talk Baseball, we're talking Football - LSU need not speak.

because they're not in the top 25, which is pretty ridiculous, and I think you know that. But it is a bleacher report article


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213
tigerfan in bamaland
LSU Fan
reclusion
Member since Sep 2006
50772 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
quote:

DoubleDown


If you know anything about college football, then you would know LSU's defense is legit year in and year out.



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135
roguetiger15
LSU Fan
Member since Jan 2013
9677 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
Yea that vaunted Tulane defense will be head and shoulders above LSU's let me tell ya. List is retarded.


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250
Torch
Tennessee Fan
California
Member since Feb 2017
526 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
quote:

12. Florida Gators

Save for one dud against Tennessee,





Meanwhile...


2016 Team Total Defense:

95. Tennessee



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20
rmnldr
LSU Fan
Member since Oct 2013
23212 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
I can bash my head against the keyboard and come up with something better than that article. B/R should hire me
This post was edited on 5/24 at 12:54 pm


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101
lsufball19
LSU Fan
Nashville, TN
Member since Sep 2008
21074 posts
 Online 

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
quote:

LSU was #10 last year in Total Defense. They lost a good bit too so it's possible.

Alabama lost:
1st round CB Marlon Humphrey
1st round DE Jonathan Allen
1st round LB Rueben Foster
2nd round LB Ryan Anderson
2nd round DT Dalvin Tomlinson
3rd round DE Tim Williams
4th round S Eddie Jackson

So Alabama lost 7/11 starters (I know Jackson was hurt the 2nd half of the season) on defense


yatesdog38
Mississippi St. Fan
in your head rent free
Member since Sep 2013
1754 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
Louisville hired MsState's defensive coordinator... which was 120th last year... so there is that.


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10
TideSaint
Alabama Fan
Boise
Member since Sep 2008
44881 posts
 Online 

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
quote:

I wonder why this is being posted here?


Because it involves multiple SEC teams?


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65
DoubleDown
Alabama Fan
New Orleans, Louisiana
Member since Oct 2008
8508 posts

re: Predicting the Top 25 Defenses in College Football for 2017 (Bleacher Report)
... and we were what, #2 in total defense? So yea, if you said Alabama would fall to say #10 or even #15 in a list, I could believe it's possible.

But no, not LSU fans, it's impossible.


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