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Monday, January 10, 2011
Auburn's 'D' bucking the SEC trend

By Chris Low

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Auburn is trying to become the seventh different SEC team to win a BCS national championship on Monday night.

If the Tigers can defeat Oregon, they would deviate from the norm in the SEC.

The past BCS national champions from the SEC all had glitzy defensive numbers. Auburn’s defensive numbers are average at best.

“The only thing that matters to us is what that scoreboard says at the end of the game,” Auburn senior linebacker Josh Bynes said. “For 13 games, it’s said the right thing. We’re about making the plays it takes to win games, not impressing anybody by what kind of numbers we put up.

“This defense has answered every challenge that has come our way. We’ve got one more.”

While Auburn has been lights out defensively in the second half, the Tigers rank 55th nationally in total defense (362.1 yards per game) and 54th in scoring defense (24.5 points per game).

How does that compare to the past BCS national champions from the SEC?

Take a look:

2009
2008
2007
2006
2003
1998

So, if you’re keeping score, the past six SEC national champions averaged giving up just over 270 yards per game and 13.9 points per game.

Auburn’s defense this season is allowing 92 yards and 10.6 points more per game than the average of the six previous BCS national champions from the SEC.

Despite that discrepancy, Auburn coach Gene Chizik said he has confidence in his defense – period.

“Have we played exactly the way we want to play all year? No, we’ve made some mistakes,” Chizik said. “We’ve got some young guys playing out there, certainly in the back seven. We’ve had some injuries that have dictated that. But we feel really good about our defense. They are playing with confidence. They feel really great about the plan. They’ve had a great month of practice, and we feel really good about it.”