2010 College Football Predictions: Top Five Running Back Duos in the Nation
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There is always a lot of talk, conjecture, and debate when it comes to individually ranking the top running backs in the nation.
But what about the top running back duos—that is, the best backs who are teammates.
Here are my top five. I encourage everyone to post your comments on which of my rankings you agree or disagree with.
Duo Number Five
Brandon Saine and Dan Herron - Ohio State
In 2008, Herron replaced the injured Beanie Wells and impressed the coaches so much that he entered 2009 as the starter.
Saine came back healthy in 2009 and led the Buckeyes in rushing yards by a running back with 739. He also had 224 receiving yards and scored six total touchdowns.
Herron added 600 yards on the ground and seven touchdown runs.
Entering 2010, it appears that Saine is the No. 1 back with Herron a very close second.
With the O-line expected to be one of the best in the country, another huge year from the Buckeye backfield should be on tap.
Duo Number Four
Adam Robinson and Jewell Hampton or Brandon Wegher - Iowa
With Hampton out for the season due to injury, Robinson led the Hawkeyes rushing attack in 2009 with 834 yards and five touchdowns, and Wegher added another 641 yards and eight scores.
Before being injured, Hampton was considered to be the guy who would take over for NFL-departed Shonn Greene.
In 2008, Hampton rushed for 463 yards and scored seven times as Greene's backup.
I'm sure Robinson did enough in 2009 to be Iowa's No. 1 or No. 2 in 2010, so the only question is who will be his main sidekick, Hampton or Wegher?
I'm still leaning towards Hampton, but no matter who it ends up being, expect plenty of production behind their big line and the reduction of pressure on turnover-prone quarterback Ricky Stanzi.
Duo Number Three
Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray - Texas A & M
A year ago, Michael just edged Gray to lead the Aggies in rushing with 844 yards and 10 touchdowns. Gray added 757 rushing yards, 226 receiving yards, and seven total touchdowns (five rushing, two receiving).
QB Jerrod Johnson, who is also a pretty decent ball carrier himself, is one of the best passers in the Big 12 and is expected to pass more than scramble this season.
That should allow Michael and Gray even more running room in 2010.
1,000 yards seasons could be possible for both.
Duo Number Two
Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson - Alabama
Everyone knows about Ingram, the 2009 Heisman winner. He gained 1658 yards on the ground and had 334 receiving yards. In total, he scored 20 touchdowns (17 rushing, three receiving).
Not everyone knows about Ricahrdson, but they soon will. He is considered by many experts and fans alike as one of the best non-starters in college football.
Last season, he averaged nearly 5.2 yards per carry, as he rushed for 751 yards and scored eight touchdowns.
Only a sophomore in 2010, he's tough,fast, and just might someday be Alabama's second Heisman winner.
He was twice named the SEC freshman of the week in 2009 and was also tabbed as a member of the SEC All-Freshmen team.
QB Greg McElroy seems more of a game manager type to me, so it's not hard to imagine another huge year rushing for the Tide with both Ingram and Richardson carrying the rock.
Duo Number One
Ryan Williams and Darren Evans - Virginia Tech
Coach Frank Beamer has a huge problem on his hands heading into 2010.
However, it's not a problem he minds having.
How will he decide which one of his star running backs will be 1A and 1B?
In 2008, freshman Darren Evans rushed for 1,265 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. Prior to the 2009 season, Evans tore the ACL in his left knee and was lost for the entire season.
Hokie fans were at a loss and many thought the season would be a disaster.
But for the second straight season, a freshman, this time Ryan Williams, ran wild.
Williams unexpectedly had one of the best statistical seasons of any back in the nation, gaining 1,655 yards and finding the endzone 21 times.
Expectations are sky high for the 2010 Hokies, and Williams and Evans are two of the biggest reasons, justifiably so.
That's it. That's the list. Now let's hear from my fans and haters alike.
Let the debating begin.
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