Who's the Best Defense of them All?

Friday's football game between San Jose State and Boise State will be a dazzling display of defensive talent. It's difficult to find a defensive category in the WAC in which these two teams don't rank 1-2. So which is better?

The confident San Jose State player got all dressed up in his football uniform, stood in front of the mirror and asked, "Mirror, mirror on the wall….who's the best defense of them all?"  To which the mirror replied "Why Great Spartan, you should know.  You just returned from Las Cruces with the San Jose defense completely shutting down the Aggie passing game and coming away with a 31-14 road win.  Your defense ranks 11th in the nation in rushing defense allowing only 86. 7 yards per game.  Your pass defense ranks #1 in the Western Athletic Conference and 35th in the country, just ahead of #36 Boise State," the mirror told the pleased Spartan.  "Only three teams in the nation can boast more interceptions than your 13, while only two have allowed fewer passing touchdowns than your three.  Duke Ihenacho is tied for the national lead with five interceptions," the shining mirror proclaimed.


"As you know," the mirror continued, your great cornerback Christopher Owens (13) needs one more interception to tie the school record.  The Spartans rank seventh in pass efficiency defense.  Overall, your defense ranks 13th by allowing just 272.57 yards per game.  It marks the first time that the Spartans have allowed less than 300 yards per game since 1990.  That's sensational.  You and your group rank 21st in scoring defense by allowing only 16.6 points per game." 


"One of the great measures of a defense," the mirror said, " is how many sacks you've totaled for the year.  Great Spartan, your defense is third in the country with 25 sacks.  Individually, Carl Ihenacho is 10th with seven himself.  Justin Cole has five.  Tenacious.  You're ninth in the nation with 56 tackles for loss.  Carl leads the nation with 14, while Jarron Gilbert already has 10.5.  It is believed that Carl and Duke Ihenacho are the first brotherly duo to ever both lead the nation in a major defensive statistical category.  Aggressive.  Focused.  The San Jose State defense is 18th in third down percentage defense by allowing just over 30% conversions.  And you're third in the country in total turnovers gained with 20.  Carl Ihenacho is fifth individually with three forced fumbles."


"Yes, oh Spartan one, because of these many things, you are indeed the best defense of them all."


Hundreds of miles away, a determined Bronco defensive player stood tall in his freshly-pressed uniform, walked in front of his mirror and asked, "Mirror, mirror on the wall….who's the best defense of them all?"  The mirror answered, "Why of course, Mr. Bronco, it's Boise State.  Your last effort against high-flying Hawai'i was superb. You held them to seven points. Seven. The last time the explosive Rainbow Warriors scored less than 7 was way back in 2004 when your predecessors at Boise State held them to 3. You're 10th in the nation in interceptions with 11.  The Broncos are eighth in the nation in pass efficiency defense.  Sixth in the nation in red zone defense," the mirror told the proud Bronco.  "Individually, Kyle Wilson is ninth in the nation with nine passes defended.  Brandyn Thompson is fourth with four interceptions.  Boise State is 21st in the country in fourth down conversion percentage-defense.  Best of all, the Broncos are second in the country where it counts—scoring defense.  Boise State is only allowing 10.5 points per game. Only USC has allowed fewer points per game.   You have held opponents to seven or fewer points in five out of six games.  That's the first time that has happened in the esteemed history of your school since 1970.  Amazing."


"So yes," the mirror continued.  "Your defense is surely the best of them all."


What we can glean from the tale of the two mirrors is that if you stand in front of a mirror and ask a question, it's pretty much going to tell you what you want to hear.  The real answer can only come in a two-parter  Which team plays more like the way they've played all season on Friday night, when the two teams meet? and Which team will continue to play that way for the remainder of the season?         

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