Let's assume for a second there are no other college football teams in America, only Alabama and Clemson. After all, that's been the title game two straight years and we may be on a collision course for Part 3.
Both teams have big-time defensive performers and are dominating on that side of the ball. Question is, which defense is better?
[divider]COMPARE: Any CFB Teams | Any CFB Players
TIDE: ESPN's McShay Grades Bo Scarbrough
DOUGHTY: Rutgers Coach Chris Ash With Great Postgame Quote[divider]
While we may not know the answer for another month or two, here's a statistical look after five weeks.
|4.2||Yards Per Play||3.7|
|15||Big Plays Allowed (20 YDS)||12|
|28.1%||3rd Down Defense||28.4%|
|44.4%||Red Zone Defense (TD%)||44.4%|
Clemson has played the tougher schedule thus far but it's difficult to put too much stock one way or the other in non-conference games versus cash opponents.
Clemson has a pass-rush advantage in both sheer volume and rate and the Crimson Tide has done a better job forcing turnovers. Just about every other meaningful category has the two teams with similar defensive results. It's clear both teams are stout up front in stopping the run and limit big plays.
Among the individual standouts are Clemson's Austin Bryant, who has five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss and Alabama DB Levi Wallace, who has three picks, including one returned for a score, and nine passes defended and six pass breakups.
Alabama's schedule becomes a bit more challenging, at least on paper, this weekend at Texas A&M. Clemson just handled Virginia Tech on the road and have beaten Auburn and Louisville, but take on a solid Wake Forest team Saturday and are at Bradley Chubb and No. 24 North Carolina State November 4.