Pass defense quietly has played a major role in who wins the national title.
During the Southeastern Conference's run of six consecutive championships, five of those champions ranked among the top two teams in the conference and the top four teams nationwide in pass efficiency defense.
The run-first SEC isn't known for throwing the ball all over the field, though that is changing. But SEC quarterbacks are effective when they do throw.
South Carolina's Connor Shaw and Alabama's A.J. McCarron are two of the nation's most efficient passers, and they could end up meeting in the SEC championship game.
Who wins the matchup — or even the chances of such a matchup occurring — likely depends on how well their respective teams defend the pass.