Thursday, January 15, 2009

Top Badger running backs of all-time

In the wake of P.J. Hill's NFL declaration, Mike Lucas ranked his top five Badger running backs of all-time. For whatever reason, I can't find the story on now, but I know that Ron Dayne and Alan Ameche were his top two. That's where I'll start my top 15 list.

1. Ron Dayne
Who else?

2. Alan Ameche
You win a Heisman, you're at the top of this list.

3. Brian Calhoun
Quality over quantity. His 2005 was the most well-rounded season by a Badger offensive player, ever.

4. Brent Moss
Many would pick Billy Marek over Moss, but Moss led the Badgers' current resurgence. He was so good on that stretch play. Had a pretty damn good line in front of him, too. Did sharing carries with another great back help or hurt him?

5. Billy Marek
Did it for some bad teams, but never lifted them beyond that.

6. Pat Harder
"Hit 'em Again" Harder.

7. Rufus Ferguson
The Roadrunner.

8. Alan Thompson
Thompson-Ferguson-Marek was a pretty damn good back-to-back-to-back for some pretty damn bad teams.

9. Terrell Fletcher
May have been better than Moss, as he showed in late '94 after Moss was kicked off the team. Lasted a long time in the NFL.

10. Michael Bennett
That speed ...

11. Anthony Davis
Injuries limited his last two years, but he was electrifying.

12. P.J. Hill
Better than many fans gave him credit for.

13. Elroy Hirsch
Thing is, Crazylegs didn't have eye-popping numbers in college, just a couple incredible games on a balance team. Probably better at Michigan and in the pros.

14. Larry Emery

15. Marvin Artley

This list probably excludes some worthy guys from the very early days of Wisconsin football, but it's so tough to compare those guys with the others.

What does your list look like? Even just a top five or 10?


Edward said...

A lot of those guys I really have no idea about so the only non moderns I put were Ameche and Marek.
1. Dayne
2. Ameche
3. Calhoun: No UW back has ever done to a great defense what he did to Auburn. It was simply awesome. Disappointed his pro career has been a bust.
4 Marek: I will go off numbers alone on him
5. Fletch: You are right, he was better than Moss. Best moves for a Badger back ever.
6Moss: If only there wasn't that crack thing.
Bennett: One cut and then gone
7: PJ Hill: He was fought through his injuries to play well.
8: Anthony Davis: He did not fight through his injuries to play well. Unfair or not, I will always remember him standing in pads on the sideline during that Iowa game with the Rose Bowl on the line and no running game. Dude get out there!
9. Carl Mccullough: A 1000 yard season, even in a bad year, gets you a spot at the table.
10. John Clay: If he left right now, 900 yards and 9 tds would put him at #10. Hopefully he will rocket up the rankings after a year as the focal point of the offense.

Edward said...

Whoops, I guess that is actually 11.

Duff Beach said...

I might move Fletcher up and Bennett down, but solid list. I, too, know little about the guys in the middle, but I'll take your word for it.

Too bad Calhoun didn't stick around for one more year. Think we might have beaten Michigan with him? Sure would've been a better bet. His pro career, like many backs, has been limited by injuries. That's the life of an NFL running back, get in and make your money while you can, unless you're lucky enough to be a 3rd down back (which Calhoun could be with the right team).

Duff Beach said...

PS, Lucas gives his list on the air, here (about 1/5 of the way in):

Anonymous said...

Carl McCullough. And remember -- he lost a bunch of time/production because of Dayne.

Scott Tappa said...

Glad to see my love for one-year Calhoun is shared, he was incredible that year.

Gotta question McCullough, though, to me he was a very average back playing behind a good line on a run-heavy team. I'll always remember him for the leadership he showed during and emotion he showed after we beat Iowa in '97 to break that long losing streak against them, one of the coolest postgame reactions I've seen from a player.

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