1. Auburn

Its not just talent that can make a unit special, it also takes valuable playing experience. The Auburn Tigers aren't short in either category. Carnell "Cadillac" Williams is the most notable player of the group. The 2001 freshman All-American has shown big-time ability, yet hasn't finished a season healthy yet. Ronnie Brown (1000, 13 TDs) got the start for the 2nd half and carried the load for the injured Williams. Tre Smith (454) also saw action and chipped in with 126 of them vs. Alabama. As if that wasn't enough depth, Auburn also acquired the services of 6'4'', 255-pound Brandon Jacobs, a JUCO transfer with 4.4 speed.

Why #1? - Too much depth and talent to be placed anywhere else.

2. Wisconsin

Is there a more consistent running back then Anthony Davis? After rushing for 1500+ over each of the last two seasons, the 5'8'' dynamo will try to repeat that feat for the 3rd straight year. That won't be easy, though, with Dwayne Smith (552, 5 yds-per-rush) looking to take away his carries. The true sophomore had a superb performance vs. Illinois in Davis' absence.

Why #2? - This could be the most consistent 1-2 punch in the country. If one goes down the other simply picks up right where the other left off.

3. Colorado

No unit in the country means more to their team than Colorado's. Last year's #1 Backfield lost the services of Chris Brown and Marcus Houston, but that doesn't mean the cupboard is bare. For the first time, Bobby Purify can now get out of the shadows of previous starters and shine. His career 5.9 yards per carry average and soft hands can now be optimally utilized. Also in the mix will be sophomore sensation Brian Calhoun. Calhoun burst onto the seen last year with 259 of his 314 yards vs. conference foes Nebraska and Oklahoma in relief of a banged up Chris Brown and Bobby Purify.

Why #3? - Both usually show up big whenever they get their carries but each has been known to disappear every once in a great while.

4. Tennessee

Not many schools can boast 3 blue-chip high school standouts all on the same backfield; fortunately for Tennessee, they can. Cedric Houston (779) took over as Tennessee's first option by rushing for most of his yards in the season's 2nd half. Jabari Davis on the other hand will continue to take a role as the bruiser of the two. His presence as a short yardage back was surely felt with his team leading 10 touchdowns and 4.6 yards per carry average. Providing depth will be Gerald Riggs Jr who will look to contribute more this year as a possible 3rd option.

Why #4? - In the past, some inconsistency hampered the unit, but for the most part, they played well while Cedric Houston was cemented as the #1 guy.

5. Ohio State

Maurice Clarett was not only a freshman All-American, but apparently he was also the Buckeyes' team MVP. Despite missing out or partially playing in a handful of games, Clarett still managed to rush for 1237 yards and an even more impressive 5.6 yards a carry. Backing up Clarett has been the combination of Lydell Ross and Maurice Hall. Contrary to popular opinion, the duo would not start on most teams, but both running backs have been serviceable for Ohio State in Clarett's absence.

Why #5? While there are very few in Clarett's class, the backups weren't exactly potent while he was unable to play.

Just Missed: Florida State

If not for a late season knee injury to Greg Jones, we would be talking about a Top 3 backfield in Tallahassee. Picking up the slack during Jones' rehab will be the young duo of Leon Washington and Lorenzo Booker. Washington has the early advantage do to the invaluable experience he gained last season. His 134-yard performance against Florida could be a sign of things to come from the young star, but don't count out Booker. The redshirt freshman has looked very impressive in spring workouts and will probably take over Nick Maddox's role as the quicker and more agile change of pace.

Could be there: Notre Dame

How do you improve on a backfield that already has a 1000-yard rusher and a young, mobile quarterback with over 1000 rushing yards of his own? You do it by adding star running back Julius Jones. After taking a year off for academic reasons, Jones looks to be bigger and faster than before, which should make a sometimes-stagnant offense more explosive from the ground.