Legendary University of Alabama head coach Bear Bryant coined the phrase “offence sells tickets, defence wins football games.”
There are many potent offenses over the years, at all levels of football that would take issue with that statement. Still, with the British Columbia Football Conference play-offs just over a week away, defense does pose an interesting question if one considers which of the four BCFC clubs will emerge as Cullen Cup champions.
The Westshore Rebels at 8-1-1 are in top spot, followed by the 7-3 Okanagan Sun, 6-4 Langley Rams and 5-4-1 VI Raiders. You won’t find many BCFC observers, perhaps none who will argue that the Westshore Rebels are not the best all-around team of the four. They have a potent offense with a deadly running game, emerging quarterback, balanced receiving corps and an intimidating offensive live. They are also a very well coached football team.
You would be hard pressed to find someone who will give you a reason the Rebels will not hoist the Cullen Cup this season. But you might find someone to give you 268 reasons…
That is how many points the Westshore Rebels have surrendered this season. The Rebels have scored more points than the other play-off clubs, but they have also allowed more than all of them as well. That is a BCFC first.
The term “best ever” probably gets used too much. To consider the best ever BCFC defenses (since the club adopted a 10 game schedule in 1993) you would have to consider different factors. Quality of opposing offenses, whether the defense was often defending a short field among them.
Still, it wouldn’t be logical to put the Rebels defense anywhere near the best the BCFC has seen in the modern era of the 10 game schedule. Based on points against (10 game schedule era) the 10 best BCFC defenses are; (* indicates BCFC champions)
- 2004 Okanagan Sun 49*
- 1997 Okanagan Sun 56*
- 1996 Okanagan Sun 67*
- 1995 Okanagan Sun 81*
- 2011 VI Raiders 83*
- 1998 Abbotsford Airforce 92
- 2003 Okanagan Sun 96
- 1994 Surrey Rams 97
- 2009 VI Raiders 100*
- 2010 Okanagan Sun 104
The Rebels at 268 points don’t crack the top 10, so where do they sit in terms of points against in the 10 game era?
Of the 23 first place teams since that time, not a single one allowed more points than the Rebels. The closest was the 2012 Vi Raiders. That club allowed 217 points and was defeated in the BCFC championship game by the Langley Rams.
Of the 23 second place teams, none allowed the 269 points that the Rebels have. The closest club to that mark was the Langley Rams in 2014 when they allowed 254. Showing that statistics don’t always mean everything, the Rams would go on the upset the Okanagan Sun, a club that had allowed just 139 points during the season in the BCFC championship.
Of the 23 third place teams, just three (Kamloops Broncos with 306 in 2014, Langley Rams with 282 in 2008 and the 2006 Rams with 275) allowed more points than the 2016 Rebels
Including the play-off clubs this season that is a total of 73 teams. On points against at least, this slots the 2016 Rebels at #70 overall.
No doubt Rebels defensive players will take offense at this #70 ranking. No we aren’t saying the Rebels are a 70th best defense, the number is a reference point for interest sake. But even Rebel defenders have to admit the stats are interesting.
Maybe some members of the Rebels offense will find reasons in this story to razz their teammates on the other side of the ball. “Hey, no wonder we light you guys up at practice.”
Maybe Rebels head coach JC Boice will do what head coaches do and pin this story up as motivation for his team. “No one respects us men, we will show them where they can shove their stats.” (You can thank us later for the added tool if so coach).
But if you are an old school Bear Bryant fan you likely are not betting the farm on the 2016 Westshore Rebels prospects the next couple games