ESPN’s Bill Connelly ranks Georgia’s defenses among the best in college football history

Defense has been the name of the game in Georgia ever since Kirby Smart The program took over in December 2015, and defense was a big reason the Bulldogs intimidated several opponents en route to the National Championship last season. The question after Bulldogs title season was where this defense was ranked among the best sports of all time; According to an expert, he was among the best in college football history.

ESPN’s Bill Connelly included three Georgia defenses — defense from 2019, defense from 2020 and defense from 2021 — on Friday in his list of the 50 greatest defenses in sports history. The 2021 defense came in 17th place on the list, followed directly by the 2020 defense in 18th place and the 2019 defense in 19th place.

Connelly noted that Georgia finished first in defensive position SP+ – the metric Connelly invented to measure teams across college football – in 2019 and 2020, but still failed to slow down some of the biggest electrical infractions it faced. This, of course, changed last season.

Dogs faced seven ranked opponents [in 2021] He basically dropped out for a quarter, allowing 24 points in the second quarter of the SEC Championship game. Unlike that? Almost perfect, Connelly wrote in part. “Just like Alabama did a decade ago, when [Nick] Saban and Kirby Smart have been training together, and the Georgia defense has set the standard for all defenses for the rest of the next decade.”

It was no coincidence that the three defenses that Connelly chose were coordinated before Dan Lanning, who is now technical director in Oregon. In Lanning’s three seasons as defensive coordinator, Georgia led the country in joint scoring defense (13.5 points per game) and quick defense (76.7 yards per game) while also ranking second in overall defense (280.6 yards per game). Lanning’s last defense in Georgia was his best, as the Bulldogs led the nation in defense scoring (10.2 points per game). During the regular season, Georgia’s opponents scored only 6.9 points per game.

With Georgia’s defense on the way, the Bulldogs went 14-1 and earned the program’s first national championship since 1980.

Smart was asked to compare his 2021 defense to the defense he coached in Alabama in 2011, but Smart made it clear that wasn’t something he had in mind at the moment.

“Other than trying to replace all these guys, the last thing I think about is how they wrestle against Bama’s 11 defense. I mean I have problems — the closest duty, that’s near the bottom. It takes a whole day,” Smart said after the April 16 G-Day game. of our defensive work. Staff to replace what leaves here. And we’re trying as fast as we can, because we have some talented players in defence. They just don’t have the experience, guys. You cannot put a price tag on the experience. And we don’t have enough experienced men.

“So what do you have to do? You have to make them experience. You have to play in brawls, you have to play in an environment like today. So our kids will grow out of this. We are very fortunate that we don’t have a number 15 training, we have a number 15 match. So I see how they react to giving up a play. But I can’t compare these two.”

Connelly’s roster took on the difficult task of classifying defenses that played in completely different eras of football. He noted that in the Top 50, he’s adapted to opponents, tempo where appropriate, and his personal thoughts on the defenses involved.

The result was teams from six different decades in the top ten alone.

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