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Who Is the Best Running Back in the SEC?

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 20:  Stefoin Francois #23 and Karnell Hatcher #37 of the Louisiana State University Tigers tackle Brandon Bolden #34 of the Ole Miss Rebels at Tiger Stadium on November 20, 2010 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Gary BrownCorrespondent IIJune 23, 2016

Who is the best running back in the SEC?

In a league known for its physical play, it is critical for teams to have a reliable weapon in the backfield who can gain tough yards against a defense that is stacked to stop him.

Marcus Lattimore proved to be an explosive back for South Carolina last fall, churning out 1197 yards. And while he leads the list of returning rushers this season, is he the best back out there? Trent Richardson of Alabama averaged 6.2 yards per carry last season. Does that make him the best go-to back?

When determining the league's best back, there is more to consider than just total yards or yards per carry.

If these two stats were all that mattered we would call Onterio McCalebb the best back in the league after he averaged an eye-popping 8.5 yards per carry in 2010. Problem is he averaged under seven carries per game, so one or two long rushes will swell that number up pretty good. If it was total yards, more people would be talking about Derrick Locke from last year's Kentucky squad, who out-rushed Marcus Lattimore by 6.5 yards per game on average. 

To project the best running back in the SEC, we ran various calculations that all provided a consistent ranking, but finally took the average carries (min. 10 attempts per game) of the league's top returning ball carriers.

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04:  Marcus Lattimore #21 of the South Carolina Gamecocks is tackled by Daren Bates #25 of the Auburn Tigers during the 2010 SEC Championship at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Ima
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Next, we took individual average yards per carry and added one tenth of a yard for each rush above the average carries per game and took away one tenth for each rush below. Finally, we multiplied this number by the average carries per game of 14.28.

 

You can see the results of our rankings below.

Is this a perfect analysis? No. But it does give you something to think about.

Player

School

RPG

YPC

AYPC

Average Rushes

Revised YPG

Brandon Bolden

Ole Miss

13.58

6.00

5.90

14.28

84.25

Michael Dyer

Auburn

13.00

6.00

5.85

14.28

83.54

Trent Richardson

Alabama

10.18

6.20

5.80

14.28

82.82

Vick Ballard

Miss State

15.50

5.20

5.32

14.28

75.97

Marcus Lattimore

South Carolina

19.15

4.80

5.30

14.28

75.68

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RPG=Rushes per game

 

 

 

 

 

YPC=Yards per carry

 

 

 

 

 

AYPC=Adjusted yards per carry

 

 

 

 

 

YPG=yards per game

 

 

 

 

 

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