Herschel Walker or Bo Jackson: Who Was the Better College Running Back?

BabyTateSenior Writer IJune 29, 2008

The Southeastern Conference has been home to many great running backs in its 65-year history, but two physical specimens stand out among the greats—Georgia's Herschel Walker and Auburn's Bo Jackson.

Both men played college ball in the early '80s, once even competing against each other in 1982.  Both men won the Heisman Trophy.  Yet in their pro careers neither achieved the type of success they had in school.

Let's journey back in time and try to settle the long-running argument of who was the greatest of these two.

Walker spent three years at Georgia, playing from 1980-82.  In that time he lost a total of one regular season game—and zero games in the SEC.  That may be the most fantastic record, considering the competition.  The Bulldogs won the national championship in 1980 by taking out Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

At 6'1", 225 pounds, with 9.3 speed in the 100-yard dash, his physical skills were a combination rarely seen in this world.  He set 10 NCAA and 15 SEC records while in Athens.

Bo Jackson was a four-year player down on the plains.  His size—6'1", 227 pounds—and speed—6.18 seconds in the 60-yard dash—are nearly identical to Walker.  His 1,786 yards rushing in '85 were second only to Walker's SEC record of 1,891.  His career totals were 4,303 yards on 650 attempts, a cool 6.6 per carry.

Jackson did not win a national title in college.  The Tigers staggered close in 1983, finishing No. 3 as Miami took the crown.  In Auburn's lone loss that season, 20-7 at home to Texas, Jackson was held to 35 yards rushing on seven attempts.

Astonishing describes the post-college careers of Herschel and Bo.  Walker was an original when he left college early as a football player.  Before his action, it was a taboo subject.

He bypassed his senior year to join the USFL, an entirely new football league, basically designed to acquire Walker as its main attraction.  Eventually he was known as the man the Minnesota Vikings traded "their whole team" to obtain.  Later Walker competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics in the bobsled.

Jackson became one of the most famous celebrities in the world.  He starred in such commercials as "Bo Knows" and "California Sun," among others.  He had a prominent career as a Major League Baseball player, and maintained an offseason "hobby" of playing in the NFL for the Raiders "when he wasn't busy."

These variety of events allowed Jackson to become one of the world's most recognized sports figures.

So who do you choose?  It's time to get off the fence and take a stand.

And just for the record, who do you believe Emmitt Smith would choose?