Context is key in evaluating D
The No. 13 Cougars rank 96th in the NCAA in yards allowed per game. UH has been singled out as an all-offense, no-defense team, but are they any worse than their contemporaries in the BCS standings?
When taking into account the number of plays and amount of time that the Cougars’ defense spends on the field, they’re actually not doing too bad.
They’re not Alabama — no one is, and it’s not even close.
But they stack up well with the other top schools with big offenses that score quickly and often.
UH leads the nation in scoring at 52.3 points per game, and spends the second least amount of time on the field. That means that their defense spends the second most time on the field in the NCAA.
When compared to the defenses of other comparable high-ranking, high-scoring schools, UH holds up.
Of the schools ranking higher than UH, whose defenses spend 30 or more minutes on the field, only Oklahoma is significantly better. The Cougars don’t lead the pack, but their defense allows fewer yards per minute than Oklahoma State and Arkansas, and as many as Clemson. The Tigers and Cowboys also give up first downs more frequently than the Cougars, with Oregon and Arkansas on par with UH in that regard.
Another strength of the Cougars’ defense is that they are opportunistic. UH ranks 19th in the NCAA in takeways per game, and because of their nearly flawless offense, rank 11th in turnover margin.
It is obvious that the Cougars’ offense is one of the nation’s best, and while the defense can’t be called elite, at least they can play with the big boys.