[Edit 2013-01-13: See the updated list including Ben Tate, Onterio McCalebb, Cam Newton, and more accurate stats.]
Today, Phillip Marshall posted an entry basically stating that Bo Jackson was the best runner ever at Auburn. That pretty much goes without saying. He then asks for users to vote for the next three running backs in the all-time list. I posted my vote, but I thought I would go into my thoughts in more detail.
Before getting too deep, the entire list. All numbers mined from the 2007 Auburn Football Media Guide.
|Career APY||Career TD||Season RY||Season APY||Season TD||Game RY||Score|
- Season stats refer to the best season
- Game stats refer to the best game
- APY: All-Purpose Yards
- RY: Rushing Yards
- TD: Touchdowns
- [Edit 2008-01-28: Records highlighted in bold.]
Cadillac, Brooks, and Cribbs
Grouping these together because they represent my vote for the next three. Carnell “Cadillac” Williams is an easy number two. One glance at his career all-purpose yards and touchdowns pretty much locks it up. Carnell almost gives Bo a run for the money, but Bo had a bigger rushing game (many of them), season, and career. Let’s not forget that little Heisman Trophy that Bo won back in 1985.
Now Brooks and Cribbs are neck and neck in my book. In fact, I actually have them reversed in my official “vote”. However I refined my methodology which gave the edge back to Brooks. He was a better all-purpose back and had bigger games. Cribbs was a great back that never peaked as high as many on this list. Cribbs started strong and stayed steady and reliable.
The Rest of the List
Most of the list is pretty straight-forward. Stephen Davis was in the five spot no matter how my methodology evolved. He was very solid. Some would argue that his last year under Terry Bowden cost him quite a bit. I have no opinion on that as I was still a Bowden fan at that point.
After Fullwood, a fairly solid 6th, comes the fun. Rudi versus Ronnie. I think Rudi is the better runner, hands-down. However, he only had one season at Auburn which cost him quite a bit. If he had come back for his senior season (he was a JUCO transfer), he would be at least in the five spot. He would also have taken yards away from Carnell and Ronnie in 2001, dropping them a touch as well. Ronnie’s problem…sharing time with Carnell Williams.
Irons and Bostic round out the list. They were both pretty good backs. They just aren’t quite as good as anyone else on the list.
There is a method in my madness. I took the categories above and ranked them in two ways. The first gave 10 points to the holder of the record, and the remaining got a fraction of that based on their score. For example, Carnell’s score for career rushing yards was 8.90.
The second gave points for top-ten finishes in each category, with the number one ranking getting 10. If someone ranked in the top ten more than once, they got more points. This led to Bo racking-up big points for top games as he as the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, and 8th biggest rushing games in Auburn history.
Also, while I didn’t account for this, let’s remember that today’s back have more games per season. While that may wear them down, it gives them more raw numbers.
Some season numbers may not be career highs for a person if their best season came when a better back led the way. If you find any of that, let me know and send me a link to the source.
I did check to make sure that no stats from the 2007 season impacted any of the rankings. They didn’t. However, give the current crop a few more years and maybe one will hit this list.
Fun Fact: The record for most rushing yards in a game? Curtis Kuykendall ran for 307 yards at Miami on November 24, 1944. He did it on 33 attempts and got 4 touchdowns. It was World War II though, so the competition probably wasn’t all that impressive.