Is it better to have a top offense or a top defense in college football? When we compare team total offense stats with total defense stats, teams with top defenses are much higher-ranked on average than those with top offenses, all other things equal. In fact, the total defense stats are what make the SEC the toughest football conference in the country.
Almost unheard of is a team that ranks number one in both offense and defense in an NCAA division, but there is one such team in 2007, the Mount Union Purple Raiders in Division III. Here are some interesting stats about Mount Union in their first 12 games this year:
Just how good is Mount Union in Division III this year? We need not look only at their won-loss record. The stats tell us a devastating story. Mount Union has put up 6584 yards total offense in 12 games for a per game average of 548.67. The 6584 yards is one yard more than the total offense of 6583 yards in 12 games for Tulsa, ranked Number One in the NCAA Division I-A (FBS) this year.
But here is where Mount Union differs from all Division I-A (FBS) teams with highly ranked total offense teams. Their defenses are invariably weaker, but also here Mount Union is ranked Number One, as the defense has allowed only 1541 yards total offense in 12 games for a per game average of 128.41. That is an incredible nearly 100 yards better than Ohio State, ranked number one for 12 games in NCAA Division I-A (FBS), allowing 2703 total yards for a 225.3 per game average.
The Mount Union team stats for the 14 games of the season thus far can be found at Mt. Union Purple Raiders. Scoring-wise they are averaging 54.1 to 5.2 points per game. They are averaging 548.3 yards total offense and 156.9 yards total defense, i.e. the total offense average has been maintained in the playoffs, in spite of tougher competition. Opponents have put up more yards in the playoffs, but in part this is due to playing reserves in the last quarters against opponent first teams. The quarter scoring gives a view of the strength of this team, with the lesser scoring in the second half due to the first teams often no longer playing on the field:
Mount Union......... 284 264 135 74 - 757The average score in a game this year at halftime was about 39-2. That's phenomenal coaching AND playing. See Larry Kehres.
Opponents........... 6 16 10 41 - 73
Here are our predictions for the playoff finals in Division I-A (FCS), Division II, Division III, and NAIA.
|Game Matchup||Betting Line|
(+ home favored)
|45-48||See NCAA Division I-AA (FCS) bracket. By margin of victory ratings, Massey Ratings have Delaware 71st and Appalachian State 69th. Appalachian State, which vanquished Michigan to start the season, is the defending champion and going for a threepeat. Delaware is a perennial powerhouse.|
vs. Northwest Missouri State
|14-35||See the Division II playoff bracket here. The Bearcats have impressively knocked off Chadron State and Grand Valley State in their last two games, the number one and number two ranked Division II teams in the country. The Bearcats beat the Lakers 34-16 to end the nation's longest win streak of 40 victories in a row. The Valdosta State Blazers beat unbeaten California of Pennsylvania but we think they have little chance now of beating Northwest Missouri State.|
|University of Wisconsin - Whitewater|
at Mount Union
|17-49||Mount Union is a football juggernaut this year, as shown inter alia by the Division III football bracket. Mount Union is the defending champion and going for a threepeat. Mount Union has 37 straight wins. They have beaten UW-Whitewater in the Division III playoff final the last two years and are unlikely to lose this year, as the Purple Raiders may have their best team of all time. Mark Gillispie at The Plain Dealer writes: "While the Mount offense has averaged more than 50 points a game ... it has been the defense that has produced some of the more eye-popping numbers this season. Mount Union's defense has put together what might be the most dominant season in the history of modern college football." The Massey Ratings put Mount Union at 83rd among all college football teams in the nation - prior to the win over Bethel, so they will move up a couple slots this week.|
|Sioux Falls (South Dakota)|
Carroll College (Montanta)
|14-17||Sioux Falls is the 2006 NAIA defending champion but Carroll has a long tradition of NAIA national championships having won four in a row (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005) prior to 2006. Both teams played Morningside during the 2007 season, with the Cougars of Sioux Falls winning 34-28 and the Saints of Carroll College winning 27-16. The championship game matches the two best defenses in NAIA football.|
|Grambling State (8-3)|
at Jackson State (7-4)
|27-24||This game is for the SWAC Football Championship - SCG 2007. Grambling State beat Jackson State 30-20 during the regular season.|