Irresistible forces: Which SEC team will have the most lethal RB tandem?

Depending on who you ask, the SEC is set to be the premiere conference in college football this season, and a lot of it has to do with the stardom that can be found in the backfields of its prominent programs.

A number of teams will boast multiple game changers at the running back position in 2017, but which one will prove to be the most dominant?

Here’s a list of candidates that should yet again run roughshod over their opponents this season.

Alabama – Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough

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The philosophy of “two is better than one,” applies directly to Alabama‘s depth chart at running back, as once again the Crimson Tide will boast two dynamic options that could seemingly split carries yet again in 2017.

Damien Harris opened up last season as the primary recipient of rushes, but it was Bo Scarbrough that stole the spotlight in the final stretch toward the national title game. Each back brings one half of a ying-yang concept to Alabama’s backfield, as Harris relies more on quickness, whereas Scarbrough can seemingly run through defenders of all shapes and sizes.

Both Harris and Scarbrough could conceivably jump to the NFL next season, so its reasonable to expect that they will be turning up the heat in a perennially white-hot program that for 14 games was utterly unstoppable.

Auburn – Kamryn Pettway, Kerryon Johnson

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Auburn is heading into a span of uncertainty when it comes to the quarterback position, so the spotlight will once again be on the likes of Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson to remain stable contributors on offense.

The addition of Jarrett Stidham should make Auburn a more threatening team on the passing front, and any sort of increase would certainly give both Pettway and Johnson more breathing room. Both men combined for 2,119 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground last season along with showing the ability to catch passes with Johnson being the primary target of the two.

Pettway managed to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark healthily despite missing four entire games last season, while Johnson was as steady as they come as a No. 2 option. Even if Auburn doesn’t find the star pivot that it desperately seeks, its ground game will be an enduring test for even the stingiest of defenses.

Georgia – Nick Chubb, Sony Michel

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Georgia was able to go from being arguably one of the thinnest SEC teams at running back to arguably the most talented, as both Nick Chubb and Sony Michel surprisingly returned for one more season in Bulldogs red.

Chubb’s history of injuries made his decision to return that much more unexpected, but his efforts last season, coupled with those of Michel in his absence, made defensive lines loath stacking up against Georgia. Michel was the only one of the pair who presented himself as a threat to catch the ball last season, which adds to his stock as a weapon for quarterback Jacob Eason.

There may be no better running back pairing in the nation when both are healthy, and with Eason looking to improve on a steady freshman season, head coach Kirby Smart may just have an offensive juggernaut looking to take down the rest of the conference.

LSU – Derrius Guice, Darrel Williams

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In almost any other scenario, a college program losing the likes of Leonard Fournette would be scrambling to replicate even a fraction of the presence left in its backfield. Thankfully for LSU, 2017 isn’t just any other scenario.

Derrius Guice was given the opportunity to step in for an injured Fournette last season and left little doubt in Tigers fans that LSU will be just fine at running back this coming season. Guice ended the season on a high note, rushing for 138 yards in LSU’s Citrus Bowl victory over Louisville, and running over Texas A&M‘s defense with no regard for human life the previous week to the tune of 285 yards and four touchdowns. Darrel Williams also proved his worth in minimal time, stinging Missouri for 130 yards and three touchdowns in his largest single body of work in 2016.

Guice may not have the size of Fournette, but he certainly has the finesse to put defensive lines on high alert. Give Guice an inch, and he may take 50 yards.

Texas A&M – Trayveon Williams, Keith Ford

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Trayveon Williams may not be a name considered in the same realm as that of Guice, Scarbrough, or Chubb, but it may just be a matter of time before the Texas A&M back rambles his way into the national spotlight.

Williams enjoyed a very productive freshman season with the Aggies last year that only ups the expectations heading into 2017. Williams will have a veteran presence behind him competing for touches in the form of Keith Ford, who is no slouch himself, turning in a 100-yard performance last year against LSU.

He appears to be the future of Texas A&M’s offense with the quarterback position being engulfed in the unknown at this point, so an increase in scoring over the eight touchdowns from Williams last season will help facilitate his transition from good to great regarding current backs.

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