Oregon's defense among nation's best

Isn't it annoying when people say stupid things that are measurably incorrect, yet persist in saying them even when the lunkheadedness of their position is explained to them?

So we have folks who say Oregon doesn't have a good defense. "Look," these knuckle-draggers say. "Oregon gives up 351 yards per game, which ranks 35th in the nation! That's bad defense!"

Of course, many clear thinkers have tried to debunk this through the years, but to little avail in some quarters.

Brad Edwards, ESPN's numbers guru, provides one of the strongest and most detailed arguments for why Oregon's defense is not just good. It's elite.

Edwards calls it "a dominant unit that ranks among the nation's best."

Anyone who has watched the first halves of most Oregon games this season is probably not surprised by these numbers. But if you haven't had a chance to see the Ducks play, or have only seen stats on the NCAA or conference sites, allow this to be your wake-up call. Oregon deserves to be mentioned alongside Alabama, Notre Dame and the rest of the country's best defenses.

This is a great example of why conventional statistics are flawed when it comes to evaluating college football teams. It's also evidence that USC faces an even bigger challenge Saturday against Oregon than most people think.

The numbers that Edwards uses are fascinating and convincing.

Somewhere, Nick Aliotti is grinning.