Debate It: 2013 Big Ten Running Back of the Year?

Wisconsin has its fingerprint all over the Ameche-Dayne Big Ten Running Back of the Year award. Not only is the award named after two Badgers, former Wisconsin standout Montee Ball is its lone recipient, taking home the honors in both 2011 and 2012. Will another Wisconsin back win it in 2013? Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their picks in this post.

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Previous Ameche-Dayne Winners
2011: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
2012: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin

Tom: Even without Le’Veon Bell and Montee Ball, the Big Ten has a nice collection of running backs. And, honestly, it’s difficult to pick who the best one will be. I think you could make a case for the first four backs on my list. But, I’m going with White. There was a time when he was Wisconsin’s No. 1 back over Ball. That was in 2010, when White ran for 1,052 yards; he has 2,571 career rushing yards. White is tough, strong and has big-play ability, playing for an offense that will continue to be built around the run. Keep an eye on Zach Zwinak, who surprised with a 1,000-yard season in 2012 and may go even farther in an offense that may have to rely more on the run because of a new quarterback.

Tom’s top 5 candidates
1. James White, Wisconsin
2. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
3. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
4. Venric Mark, Northwestern
5. Mark Weisman, Iowa
Dark horse: Zach Zwinak, Penn State

Brent: The Big Ten returns a trio of 1,000-yard backs (Ameer Abdullah, 1,137; Venric Mark, 1,366; Zach Zwinak, 1,000), a quartet of double-digit touchdown guys (Stephen Houston, 12; Carlos Hyde, 16; Venric Mark 12; James White, 12), in addition to several other intriguing talents. So, clearly, this is not an easy award to predict. When it comes down to it, though, Mark is my pick. The diminutive speedster is a proven back after last year’s breakout (1,366 yards, 12 TD), plus he figures to have the least competition for carries of all the other top competitors. Oh, and Mark plays for a team that’s expected to be in the Big Ten mix – something that always helps in these races.

Brent’s top 5 candidates:
1. Venric Mark, Northwestern
2. Carlos Hyde, Ohio State
3. James White, Wisconsin
4. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
5. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin
Dark horse: Stephen Houston, Indiana

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14 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (14 Comments)
ON WISCONSIN on 6/20/2013 @ 11:35am EST Said:

White is going to play second fiddle for the 4th straight year. Melvin Gordon will go for over 2000 yards

scott s on 6/20/2013 @ 12:21pm EST Said:

so i guess michigan doesnt have a running back that is better than the ones you have listed. really go figure.

Ed Crawford on 6/20/2013 @ 4:33pm EST Said:

I would rather Wisconsin win everything than Ohio st & Michigan & Nebraska

Doug on 6/20/2013 @ 4:48pm EST Said:

no Scott, they don’t

bigtengrad on 6/20/2013 @ 4:48pm EST Said:

Scott- out of curiousity, who would you suggest from Michigan that is better than the backs they picked? I can’t come up with one.

common sense on 6/20/2013 @ 7:05pm EST Said:

Doug why don’t you give some thought to becoming a Michigan fan this summer. You have to know there are a lot more advantages around here to being a Michigan Fan. ( And that was a championship caliber defense in 99, we had you on the ropes that day)

Doug on 6/21/2013 @ 1:22pm EST Said:

listen here Dhani, there are no advantages to being a Michigan fan other than better deals at Walmart. When MSU was up 34-17 and took the pedal off the gas because Saban felt sorry for old Floyd, even you had to appreciate the sportsmanship.

Erik Russell on 7/12/2013 @ 11:21am EST Said:

As an OSU fan, common sense, there are absolutely NO advantages to being a UM fan except losing to the Buckeyes every year! GO BUCKS!

scott s on 7/12/2013 @ 12:05pm EST Said:

fitz toussant you think he is just going to be a so so running back?? the year before he was a 1000 yard back remember????? time will tell.. its all good.

scott s on 7/12/2013 @ 12:09pm EST Said:

fitz is deff. in the same caliber as some of those backs you have listed.. melvin gordon shit never herd of him, james white??? really?? with a new coach and everything, stephan houston as your dark horse WOW. he is better then fitz??? not even. now way dude.

blake on 7/12/2013 @ 1:27pm EST Said:

Ameer all the way. He wasnt the main guy most of last year and still had 1000 yrds.

Gary A. Thomas on 7/18/2013 @ 5:57am EST Said:

I’m not sure anybody really notices, but the Buckeyes have the best offensive line in the B1G, and one of the top 2 or 3 in the nation. Braxton Miller will be in his second season under Meyer’s offense and understands his reads now. Put both of those together and it should be easy to expect that Carlos Hyde will break some records and win the Ameche-Dayne Award in 2013.

Ronald Roumanis on 9/7/2013 @ 11:20am EST Said:

I guess no one remembers the 2012 BIG10 Title game. Melvin Gordin III and James White were as unstoppable as Montee. Both MGIII and White will be over 1,000 yards with MGIII bringing the Badger hardware!

Ronald Roumanis on 9/7/2013 @ 11:30am EST Said:

Who watched the B10 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME? White and Melvin GordonIII demoralized the Nebraska defence to the point that, along with Montee Ball, the Badgers apparantly had the 2nd and 3rd best backs as well as #1.
MGIII will lead the trio of Badger gems! Near 2,000 for MGIII!