College football has quite a few positions that can make the difference between a good game and a blowout. A weak secondary is no match for a great quarterback, and a weak linebacking corps is no match for a stellar running back.
No matter what your team's roster looks like, the most important positions make up the backfield: the quarterback and running backs. Without solid play from these folks, your offensive line is useless.
You can protect someone all day long, but he eventually has to run, pass or hand the ball off in order to make a play. Whether it's a tailback or the quarterback who is making the play, someone from the backfield needs to keep the defense on its heels.
From stellar quarterbacks to quarterback/tailback tandems, here are the nation's 25 best backfields entering 2013. Our criteria:
- The equation used here was (quarterback rating + rusher ranking points + Final AP position points) times the conference strength multiplier.
- The top 50 rushers from 2012 that are returning in 2013 were given points: 50 to the No. 1 rusher all the way down to one point awarded to the No. 50 rusher.
- All player rankings were obtained from the "Complete Leaders" links on this ESPN stats page.
- The final AP rankings were treated the same, with 25 points going to No. 1 and one point going to the No. 25.
- Conference power rankings were taken from here, which led to these conference strength multipliers: SEC = 1.3, Big 12 = 1.25, Pac-12 = 1.2, ACC = 1.15, Big Ten = 1.1, Big East = 1.05 and all other conferences received a multiplier of 1.