But we still had big moments from guys whose primary responsibility is to run the ball. UCF's
A season full of upsets took its toll on the poll -- and my preseason
McFadden and Jones also channeled another famous duo off the field,
The emergence of
While Moreno became one of the year's breakout stars, earning all-SEC first-team honors, he formed formed a formidable duo when Brown returned. Brown averaged 5.4 yards a carry in totaling 706 yards and nine touchdowns, including 139 yards in the regular-season finale against Georgia Tech, in which Moreno had his second-worst game of the year (45 yards).
McAnderson, a senior who was Kansas' No. 1 fullback last season, has developed into a legit weapon in a one-back offense, rushing for 1,050 yards and 16 touchdowns, while Sharp had 788 yards and seven scores.
Kick returner/wide receiver
Caulcrick, a senior, and Ringer, a junior, combined for 2,159 yards and 27 touchdowns as the foundation of a powerful running attack that averaged 200 yards per game. Ringer, the more explosive of the two, ran for 1,346 yards and six touchdowns and averaged six yards per carry, while the bullish Caulcrick (6-feet, 255) got the goal-line snaps and had a Big Ten-leading 21 scores.
If not for
Patrick, a senior, overtook the team rushing lead after Murray went down, running for a career-high 202 yards and three TDs against Oklahoma State en route to a 927-yard season, while Murray finished with 764 yards and 13 touchdowns. Patrick and Murray also had to share carries with another capable runner,
The Tigers' rushing attack is deep, with four players each having run for at least 318 yards, but for these purposes we're targeting
Hester, the hard-nosed senior back whom coach
While Hester brings the dependability, Williams brings the flash. The Tigers' big-play back averaged 7.3 yards per carry but missed most of the SEC Championship game with a knee injury. He had 572 total yards, including 458 on the ground, and seven scores.
Much like LSU, the Trojans' backfield is all about depth. USC boasts three running backs whom have run for more than 400 yards, led by senior
Washington was the unquestioned feature back at Tailback U, carrying 183 times, nearly 100 more than any other Trojans RB in rushing for 894 yards and nine touchdowns, while Johnson had 569 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 6.4 yards on 89 carries. True freshman
If I disregarded my own rule, the Mountaineers would be a legit threat to Arkansas at No. 1 with quarterback
Slaton's junior season has been a bit of a letdown after rushing for 1,744 yards and 16 touchdowns in '06 (i.e. the 11 yard debacle vs. Pitt) but he still ran for 1,053 yards and 17 scores. Devine, a true freshman, came in relief of Slaton in spells, finishing with 519 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 8.6 yards per carry.
Part of the decline could be a rise in the
The Huskies' unexpected rise to tie West Virginia for the Big East crown was largely thanks to its ability to control the ball with its hulking offensive line (which averages 308 pounds), which paved the way for the tandem of
The sophomores were a balanced one-two punch, with Dixon running 160 times to Brown's 157. Dixon had 809 yards to Brown's 749 but Brown had eight TDs to Dixon's three.