Alabama’s defense gave up 628 yards on Saturday. Let that roll around in your brain for a minute. But not too long. Texas A&M allowed an Alabama offense that only mustered 206 yards against Virginia Tech to gain 568 yards on the road. Georgia’s gained almost 1100 yards against two teams ranked in the top twelve – and yielded over 900 yards in those two games. Vanderbilt, which finished ahead of Georgia last season in total defense and scoring defense, surrendered more points and yardage against South Carolina than the Dawgs did the week before. Oregon piled up 658 yards of offense on Tennessee. In three quarters.
So is defense in the SEC becoming a quaint notion? Not exactly. I think Rece Davis is on to something when he writes,
Everybody’s wondering where the defense is in the SEC after high-scoring games between Georgia and South Carolina and Alabama and Texas A&M (1,200 yards of offense). You can have good defense, but sometimes good and veteran quarterback play will trump that. That’s what the SEC has with the ultimate winner in AJ McCarron, maybe the most dynamic player of this generation in Johnny Manziel, Aaron Murray, Connor Shaw … all kinds of talent at that position. And that’s why you’re seeing higher-scoring games in the SEC.
I don’t think the athletes on defense have changed. The expertise at quarterback is the biggest thing that’s changed for me, and that’s a big deal moving forward.
Three of the top eight quarterbacks in the country in passer rating play in the SEC. Four more are in the top thirty.
In other words, it’s probably a little too early to panic, at least if your team has a good quarterback.