Alabama football fans are livid about On3's top running back units

Alabama football fans have good reason to be shocked and angered by a recent ranking of college football's Top 10 Running Back units.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

An adage states opinions are so plentiful, they are worth a dime a dozen. That everyone is entitled to have one makes them no more valuable.

I am a fan of the On3 network of sites and a frequent consumer. The platform does great work. Still, when a site fails so miserably on something that includes Alabama Football, Crimson Tide fans are right to cry foul.

Such a case happened this week when Jesse Simonton published a ranking of college football's Top 10 running back units.

Of course, Simonton can publish any opinion he chooses to espouse. For credibility, an opinion should be backed by solid facts. Simonton's ranking had some player facts but provided nothing more on how he calculated his rankings.

His opinions can be seen in the tweet below.

For the record, I am guessing the number of Alabama football fans who agree is exactly zero. My opinion, which theoretically counts as much as Simonton's is the Alabama Crimson Tide has college football's best running back group. Maybe that is a Crimson-tinted vision. So I'll say no Top 10 list of running back units having any team in its top three other than Ohio State, Georgia, and Alabama is seriously flawed.

What stands out to me as the most nonsense in the Simonton rankings is UCF at No. 4, with Alabama at No. 6. No doubt Gus Malzahn's offenses have always been known for productive rushing attacks. Also without question is the explosiveness of UCF running back RJ Harvey. Harvey ran for over 1,400 yards last season and was a Doak Walker semifinalist.

If Simonton had stated his rankings are based on the stats of returning players, ranking the Knights over the Crimson Tide would be valid. Simonton made no such qualification. And even if he had, the UCF rushing stats from the 2023 season must be measured against opposing defenses. The best rush defense, UCF played was Oklahoma, ranked No. 48 in the FBS for rush yards allowed per carry.

The other 10 rushing defenses UCF faced (for obvious reasons Villanova is not included) were worse, to much worse than the Sooners. They were Boise State (No. 66), West Virginia (No. 77), Houston (No. 81), Texas Tech (No. 84), Kansas (No. 88), Oklahoma State (No. 93), Kent State (No. 94), Kansas State (No. 108), Baylor (No. 119), Cincinnati (No. 128) and Georgia Tech (No. 130).

If Alabama Football played UCF in 2024

My strong hunch is if Alabama and UCF were scheduled this season, UCF's rushing output would be kept in check by the Crimson Tide's new defense. An even stronger hunch is in that hypothetical matchup, Alabama's running backs would be far more effective than the UCF RBs.