Top 12 Pac-12 running backs of the BCS era

Stephen Chernin

Oregon State had the most great running backs of the era.

J.J. Arrington Cal 2003-04

JC transfer Arrington made the most of his brief Pac-12 careers, putting together one of the best single seasons ever by a Pac-12 running back as a senior, breaking the 2,000 yard mark while rushing for 15 touchdowns and leading the way for a Cal team that nearly won the conference.

Reggie Bush USC 2003-05

Bush may have had to give his Heisman back, but the truth is that he won it and won a couple national championships (even if he had to return one of those too). He finished with some seriously impressive stats (more than 3,000 yards rushing with 25 TDs and 1,300 yards receiving with 13 TDs), but what made him so great was just how impressive and fun he was to watch. He may be the most electric player to ever play in the conference.

Ka'Deem Carey Arizona 2011-13

Carey just wrapped up one of the most prolific careers in Pac-12 history as he pounded the rock as well as anyone ever has in Rich Rodriguez' high-speed offense and finished his career with more than 4,200 yards and 48 touchdowns. He may not have won a ton of games at Arizona, but he was their horse on their way to two-straight bowl wins.

Johnathan Franklin UCLA 2009-12

UCLA's all-time leading rusher played a big part in their turnaround during his phenomenal senior season, but he was also a consistent force, finishing his career with more than 4,400 yards and 31 touchdowns. Franklin was the face of the UCLA program throughout most of his career.

Toby Gerhart Stanford 2006-09

Another guy who had an unbelievable senior season, and one of the best single seasons a Pac-12 player has ever had at any position. Gerhart led Stanford's rejuvenation as a senior in 2009 as he nearly won the Heisman, rushing for more than 1,800 yards while scoring a whopping 28 touchdowns. He finished his career with more than 3,500 yards rushing and 44 touchdowns.

Jerome Harrison Washington State 2004-05

Like Arrington, Harrison was a transfer who made the most out of a couple of years in the conference. He had an incredible senior season, rushing for 1,900 yards and scoring 16 touchdowns while carrying the Cougar offense on his back.

Steven Jackson Oregon State 2001-03

One of the NFL's best back of the 2000s performed like an NFL back playing in college during his three-year career in Corvallis. Jackson helped Oregon State maintain their success under Mike Riley and finished his career with more than 3,600 yards while rushing for 39 touchdowns and being a great receiving back.

LaMichael James Oregon 2009-11

The ideal back for Chip Kelly's up-tempo attack, James rewrote a lot of records while carrying the ball a bunch of times at a furious pace. James put up ridiculous numbers in just three seasons at Oregon, finishing with more than 5,000 yards on the ground and 53 touchdowns while leading the Ducks to three-consecutive BCS bowl games.

Chris Polk Washington 2008-11

A bruiser that was simply hard to take to the ground and got the most out of every carry, Steve Sarkisian used Polk as a catalyst for Washington's huge turnaround. Polk led the Huskies to three-straight bowl games and finished his career with more than 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns as one of Washington's best running backs of all-time.

Jacquizz Rodgers Oregon State 2008-10

One of the best small running backs to every play in the conference, Rodgers was a tough runner despite his size and an excellent receiver out of the backfield. Rodgers was a key part of some of Mike Riley's best Oregon State teams and finished his career with more than 3,800 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving in just three seasons along with more than 50 total touchdowns.

Ken Simonton Oregon State 1998-2001

Before there was Jackson, Bernard and Rodgers... there was Simonton, the original great Beaver running back who set the table in Corvallis. Along with Jonathan Smith, he was a huge part of Oregon State's turnaround and had a very prolific career, finishing with more than 5,000 yards and 59 touchdowns in his career.

Stepfan Taylor Stanford 2009-12

Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw's battering ram was the load bearer for Stanford's plodding and dominate offense as a key part of teams that went to three-straight BCS bowls. Taylor finished his career with 4,300 yards 40 touchdowns and a good amount of receiving yards and touchdowns.

Honorable Mention

Kenjon Barner Oregon 2009-12

Yvenson Bernard Oregon State 2004-07

Trung Canidate Arizona 1996-99

Marshawn Lynch Cal 2004-06

Bishop Sankey Washington 2011-13

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