College Football 2011: Montel Harris and the 10 Best ACC Running Backs

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College Football 2011: Montel Harris and the 10 Best ACC Running Backs
Elsa/Getty Images
2010 All-ACC team running back, Montel Harris

Quickly now, who was the last ACC team to win a BCS National Championship?

The answer is the 2001 Miami Hurricanes coached by Larry Coker.

The ACC has fallen way behind the traditional power conferences with which they used to be considered on par.

Virginia Tech is the only team that has won a BCS bowl since 1999—that was back in 2008. The ACC was 4-5 during the 2010 bowl season, which marked the fourth consecutive year the conference suffered a losing record in postseason play. Over those four seasons, the once-mighty Atlantic Coast Conference is just 13-21 in bowl games.

However, things may be looking up this season. 

Florida State has been ranked as high as No.7 to as low as No.12 to start the 2011 season. 

The ACC had 35 players selected in April's NFL Draft, including three first-round selections.

What may carry the ACC back into the national spotlight this season is its corps of young running backs. I will profile a group of 10, starting with the only returning runner from the 2010 All-ACC team.

As the ACC's leading rusher last season, Boston College's Montel Harris rushed for 1,238 yards and eight touchdowns. The junior from Jacksonville, Fla. also chipped in with 112 receiving yards while adding another score.

Harris has been a very productive back his first two seasons with Boston College. He has more than 3,600 career rushing yards and should leave Chestnut Hill as the all-time leading rusher in Eagles football history.

Harris also currently holds the BC record for both touchdowns (five) in a game and rushing yards (264) in a game against NC State last October.

Despite the Eagles' inconsistent play at quarterback and the opponent’s ability to key on BC's running game, Harris still averaged 4.6 yards per carry last season. Harris will again carry a big workload for third-year head coach Frank Spaziani.

However, he should not have to carry the offense as much as he has in the past.

Sophomore Andrea Williams started for the injured Harris in the Eagles' regular-season finale, and all he did was set a school record for carries (42) while rushing for 185 yards and a touchdown in his first career start.

With Williams’ emergence, it is possible the number of carries for Harris could drop, but he will still be one of the top backs—if not the top back—in the ACC this season.

While Harris is No. 1 on the list, here are nine more who should catch your eye in the upcoming 2011 season.

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