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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, May 31, 2013 at 3:55 PM

The first four parts of this 10-part series on what you need to focus on to get ready for the coming football season has focused primarily on the offensive aspects of the game and today we move to defense, which is the 5th most important element in building a winning football team. By "winning"I mean a team that will be successful in the won-lost department for its school and, even more important for bettors, a team that has the ability to cover numbers big and small.

The previous four issues of this series are archived on this website, but for review, here are the elements we have discussed previously, listed in the order of their importance.

1. A successful team will have a high percentage of blue-chip players.
2. A successful team will have an outstanding quarterback.
3. A successful team will have an experienced, big and deep offensive line.
4. A successful team will see its ability to win exponentially increased by the number of skill players it has on offense.

As noted, today's article is all about defense and the important role it plays in winning at every level of the game. Speaking loudly to the power of defense is the Southeastern Conference which has won the last seven national championships. The SEC has always been about defense first.

Alabama, which won last year's BCS championship game, 42-14, over Note Dame finished the season 13-1 and fielded the country's number-one defense, giving up just 250.00 yards per game, and was number one against the score, with opponents averaging just 10.93 points per game.

The fact the Crimson Tide also had all the ingredients making up the first four categories made it easy to beat Notre Dame in embarrassing fashion in the championship game.

There were 120 teams listed in the NCAA's statistical review last season and it is of note four of the top 11 defensive teams in the country were from the SEC - Alabama (13-1), Florida (11-2), LSU (10-3) and South Carolina (11-2). It is of note the combined eight losses of these four teams came against fellow conference members. Six of the top 18 teams in scoring defense were from the SEC, adding Georgia (12-2) and Vanderbilt (9-4) to the aforementioned four.

Defensive Skill As Important As Offensive Skill

While football will occasionally recognize defensive players who repeatedly perform well, they are basically ignored and little is ever said about the skill it takes to be an outstanding defensive player.

I have been around some of the best defensive players the game as ever seen and from that have my own opinions as to what makes a truly outstanding player and a truly outstanding defensive team.

Defensive players who get it done are, in order, are aggressive to the extreme, are extremely quick off the snap, have tremendous upper body strength and seem to be equipped with instinctive elements that permit them to bust up offensive plays while at the same time covering for a fellow player who has been taken out of the play. This is of course an over simplification of it all but it is the beginning of being able to play defense effectively.

One outstanding defensive player is an asset, two are a step in the right direction, three gives a team the essential building blocks it needs and four or more is a dream come true. A top-flight defense has just as many requirements as does a top offense and the value of defensive players was again shown in this year's NFL draft. Four of the top 10 players drafted in the first round were defensive players, as were 10 of the first 20 and 14 of the top 25. The public and the media may ignore defensive players but coaches do not.

In analyzing college and NFL defenses for the coming season, one must focus on experience, the past effectiveness of a team's defense, factoring in changes from last season, and recognizing the reality the longer a defensive unit has played together the more effective it will be. Players who have been together in a previous season have a chemistry that dramatically improves the effectiveness of the unit.

The bottom line is simple in that the numbers tell it all. In analyzing a defense, begin by:

1. How many yards and points per game it gave up last season.
2. Determine how many of those players are back for this season.
3. Make a note of the 3rd down defensive stops.
4. Make a note of the red-zone defense.
5. Factor in special teams and determine their effectiveness on stopping kickoff and punt returns.

There is not space here to cover all the details of defense but this discussion is a beginning of the importance of the defensive factor in winning football games at both the college and NFL levels.

Again, a reminder this entire series is archived on this website for your study. I will be back here with Part VI - The Coaching Factor - on Tuesday.

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Saturday, June 1

50-Unit NBA Playoffs Do-Or-Die Game Cashes Big Saturday Night
The NBA's Eastern Conference championship best-of-seven series between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers has been extremely competitive from the get-go and when the two teams meet tonight in Indianapolis something has to give. A win by the Heat sends them to the NBA championship round against the San Antonio Spurs while a win by the Pacers means gave seven will be played Monday in Miami. The circumstances under which the game is being played gives one of these teams and giant edge and that means I am releasing it as a 50-unit play - quite confident I will get the money. I have been absolutely on fire with my NBA big-game plays over the past two weeks and I assure you this one can bet with confidence. Win the money tonight for just $50, charged to your major credit card.

25-Unit Baseball Blowout Game Of Week Wins Saturday
I have found the perfect spot on the Saturday baseball schedule to win a nice bet on a team that should be a blowout winner, and that means I intend to win my Chairman's Baseball Investment Club 25-unit Blowout Game of the Week today. This is the classic power vs. weakness situation and I expect to win this one rather easily and, as usual, the price is right. You can win it with me for just $20, charged to your major credit card.

Get The Cash Saturday With Knockout 25-Unit 2-Team Parlay
I have been very successful with my 25-unit 2-team baseball parlays this season and am going for another one today. I have found two outstanding plays on today's schedule and they grade out so closely in their ability to win that I am releasing both of them as 10-unit plays and then am tying them up in a 5-unit parlay. This is an opportunity to go 3-0 with these games and make a major score and you can do it for just $15, charged to your major credit card. Better yet, get on board for the entire season for just $199 and play daily right through the World Series with my Best Bets Baseball Investment Club releases.

Sunday, June 2

50-Unit Dominating MLB Power Play Wins Big Sunday
My Personal Best  Baseball Investment Club  is going for the money again today with a knockout 50-unit power play on a team that grades out with better than a 90% chance to win and, as a bonus, is being offered to the betting public at a very nice price. Win this standout play for just $25, charged to your major credit card.

25-Unit Chairman's Blowout Game Of Week Wins Sunday
I have found the perfect spot on the Sunday baseball schedule to win a nice bet on a team that should be a blowout winner, and that means I intend to win my Chairman's Baseball Investment Club 25-unit Blowout Game of the Week today. This is the classic power vs. weakness situation and I expect to win this one rather easily and, as usual, the price is right. You can win it with me for just $20, charged to your major credit card.

Nationally Televised ESPN Red Sox At Yankees Tops 2-0 Sunday
My Best Bets Baseball Investment Club Just keeps winning and over the past three weeks has won for 13 of the last 17 days and there is every reason to believe it will continue today with two more standout plays. The Sunday highlight will be a 15-unit play on the night-time showdown contest that finds the Boston Red Sox at the New York Yankees. Pitching for the Red Sox will be right-hander Ryan Dempster (2-6, 4.45) who will be facing Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (6-3, 2.39). Win this 15-unit play, plus a second 5-unit best bet for just $15, charged to your major credit card. 

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