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- Ranking the 10 best BCS Running Backs
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Wide Receivers
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Offensive Linemen
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Defensive Linemen
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Linebackers
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Cornerbacks
- Ranking the 10 best BCS Safeties
Running backs are one of the most glorified positions in football. Specifically, the SEC has had some bullies at the position, pushing through defenders and racking up yards after contact.
We’re witnessing two of the best in SEC history already with Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Alabama’s TJ Yeldon. We need more sample size from each before they make this list, but there’s no denying they’re well on their way.
Related: Ranking the 2013 SEC running backs
Here are the 10-best SEC running backs of the BCS era:
1. Darren McFadden, Arkansas (2005-07)
Rush stats: 785 carries, 4,590 yds, 41 TDs
Receiving stats: 31 catches, 304 yds
Skinny: Many say Adrian Peterson and Ricky Williams are the two best BCS running backs, but I’m not afraid to throw McFadden’s name among the duo. Run DMC’s talent-packed physique was something rare. He was a consensus All-American in 2006-07. McFadden still holds the SEC’s second highest rushing total for one season in 2007 with 1,830 yards, behind Herschel Walker, and he also totes the second most rushing yards in a career with 4,590.
2. Trent Richardson, Alabama (2009-11)
Rush stats: 540 carries, 3,130 yds, 35 TDs
Receiving stats: 68 catches, 730 yds, 7 TD
Skinny: Richardson ran around terrorizing the SEC for three short seasons, with tree trunk legs and a short, compact physique running backs dream about. Richardson still is the only SEC running back to rush for 20 touchdowns in one season, and imagine if he’d received more touches in three years? He largely split time with Mark Ingram and Eddie Lacy, a staple of the Bama offense.
3. Shaun Alexander, Alabama (1996-99)
Rush stats: 727 carries, 3,565 yds, 41 TDs
Receiving stats: 62 catches, 798 yds, 8 TDs
Skinny: Does this come at a surprise? Don’t let it. Alexander is argued by some as Alabama’s best back ever, and he was a big-time player in his day, with his last two seasons coming in the BCS era. Still the all-time leading rusher in Bama history, Alexander put together a great senior campaign that ultimately fell short of the Heisman because of an ankle injury. He was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year in ’99.
4. Cadillac Williams, Auburn (2001-04)
Rush stats: 741 carries, 3,831 yds, 45 TDs
Receiving stats: 45 catches, 342 yds, TD
Skinny: If we’re ranking names, Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams tops the list, but his game wasn’t too bad either. Williams still stands second in Auburn history only to Bo Jackson in career rushing yardage, and he still holds the record for the most touchdowns scored. Williams seemed like he was either injured or always sharing the spotlight with Ronnie Brown, and he helped Auburn to an undefeated season in 2004.
5. Mark Ingram, Alabama (2008-10)
Rush stats: 572 carries, 3,261 yds, 42 TDs
Receiving stats: 60 catches, 670 yds, 4 TDs
Skinny: Alabama’s only Heisman winning back barely cracks the top five? I’ll catch flack for this one. Ingram was good, but he wasn’t better than Richardson or Alexander. Ingram’s Heisman season was his only 1,000-yard season, and he finished with 1,658 yards and 17 touchdowns. Still, Ingram helped Alabama win the 2009 national championship. He’s a great player and certainly top-five worthy.
6. Kevin Faulk, LSU (1995-98)
Rush stats: 856 carries., 4,557 yds, 46 TDs
Receiving stats: 53 catches, 600 yds, 4 TDs
Skinny: Faulk caught the tail end of the BCS in the ‘98 season. Faulk holds LSU’s career rushing record with 4,557 yards, along with his 46 total touchdown record, good for third most in SEC history. Faulk probably had the best NFL career of anyone on this list, and that’s quite the complement. You could certainly justify ranking Faulk in the top five.
7. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina (2010-12)
Rush stats: 555 carries, 2,677 yds, 38 TDs
Receiving stats: 74 catches, 767 yds, 3 TD
Skinny: Had Lattimore stayed healthy his entire career, we’d be talking about a much higher ranking. He emerged on the scene as a true freshman, rushing for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns. His next two years were cut short due to injury, but pound for pound, Latimore’s talent was top five worthy. He holds Carolina’s rushing record with 38 touchdowns and totals the most receptions (74) of any back on the list.
8. Ronnie Brown, Auburn (2001-04)
Rush stats: 513 carries, 2,707 yds, 29 TDs
Receiving stats: 58 catches, 668 yds, 2 TDs
Skinny: Brown doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He played second fiddle to one Cadillac Williams, and he’s one of the more underrated backs in the BCS era. Brown ranks eighth in Auburn history with 2,707 yards and fifth with 29 touchdowns.
9. Knowshon Moreno, Georgia (2007-08)
Rush stats: 498 carries, 2,734 yds, 30 TDs
Receiving stats: 53 catches, 645 yds, 2 TDs
Skinny: I can still see Moreno sprinting back to the offensive huddle after being tackled, a staple in his game. Moreno only played two seasons at Georgia, but he was electric with the ball in his hands and still remains fourth in UGA history with 2,734 rushing yards and fifth with 30 touchdowns. He was a first-team All-SEC pick and a second-team All-American in ‘08.
10. Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State (2006-09)
Rush stats: 910 carries, 3,994 yds, 42 TDs
Receiving stats: 56 catches, 449 yds, 4 TDs
Skinny: The forgotten Iron Man of the BCS era, Anthony Dixon. Dixon still ranks seventh in rushing touchdowns and eighth in total rushing yards in SEC history. Dixon was considered one of the best power backs available in the 2010 NFL Draft, and aside from Kevin Faulk and Darren McFadden, Dixon finished his career with the SEC’s most rushing yards in the BCS era.
Photo Credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE