Depth In The Backfield (Fun Stat Nerd: Wisconsin)

ANN ARBOR MI - NOVEMBER 20: James White #20 of the Wisconsin Badgers looks for running room while playing the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on November 20 2010 in Ann Arbor Michigan. Wisconson won the game 48-28. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

UPDATE: Raw Power And The Wisconsin Badgers is now up at the mothership.

I really don't see any way Wisconsin doesn't regress at least a bit in 2011. In replacing two All-Americans on the line, a stud defensive end, and 40% of a thin-but-steady secondary, and in potentially seeing worse fumbles luck and a lesser YPP margin, Wisconsin is going to struggle to finish in the F/+ Top 12 again this fall. That's the bad news. The good news? Nobody else in the Big Ten is likely to finish in the Top 12 either. A weaker Wisconsin squad is still going to fight it out to the last minute with a weaker Ohio State squad for the Leaders? Legends? Leaders (I think) Division title.

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You can win without three good rushers. Obviously. But when you have an identity like Wisconsin's and you have three really good runners like James White, Montee Ball and John Clay? Tough to beat. Below is a look at teams and their three leading rushers. Which teams produced the most yards among their top three? Which produced the best Adj. POE?

Again, more goes into winning than this (just look at the top four teams on the list), but when you combine it with offensive identity, you still get a nice look at the most devastating run games in the country.

(Note: Just to alleviate some confusion, the "Top 3 Adj. POE" figure below looks at the team's three leading rushers according to yards and adds up their Adj. POE. If that makes sense. Let me know if it doesn't.)

Teams And Their Three Leading Rushers (2010)
Offense Top 3
Yardage
Rk Top 3
Adj. POE
Rk
Hawaii 1,788 50 +68.7 1
Wyoming 1,635 65 +39.6 2
Ole Miss 1,999 34 +38.2 3
Western Michigan 1,173 106 +36.6 4
Oregon 2,839 6 +36.5 5
Northern Illinois 2,664 8 +36.0 6
Nebraska 3,339 2 +32.5 7
Wisconsin 3,060 5 +31.4 8
Kansas State 2,360 13 +31.2 9
Michigan State 1,963 38 +29.2 10
Southern Miss 2,083 27 +28.0 11
Auburn 3,528 1 +27.0 12
Boise State 2,065 29 +26.6 13
San Diego State 2,000 33 +25.3 14
Central Florida 2,192 23 +24.1 15
Florida State 1,855 46 +23.9 16
Middle Tennessee 2,030 31 +23.6 17
Tulsa 1,684 56 +23.5 18
Alabama 1,984 35 +22.1 19
Nevada 3,300 3 +21.4 20
Maryland 1,674 58 +21.4 21
Florida 1,266 99 +20.1 22
Missouri 1,374 96 +19.0 23
Virginia Tech 2,349 15 +18.5 24
Ohio State 2,357 14 +17.0 25

Full list after the jump.

Offense Top 3
Yardage
Rk Top 3
Adj. POE
Rk
Texas A&M 2,080 28 +16.7 26
East Carolina 1,501 83 +16.1 27
Arkansas State 1,493 84 +16.0 28
Kentucky 1,607 71 +15.5 29
Baylor 2,282 17 +15.2 30
Stanford 2,046 30 +15.2 31
Clemson 1,619 69 +15.1 32
Michigan 2,755 7 +15.1 33
Pittsburgh 2,240 21 +14.3 34
Fresno State 1,711 54 +13.4 35
Louisville 2,018 32 +12.7 36
South Carolina 1,938 43 +11.8 37
Rice 1,527 79 +11.2 38
Vanderbilt 1,214 102 +11.1 39
Wake Forest 1,312 97 +10.7 40
Miami (Ohio)
1,506 82 +10.7 41
North Texas 2,126 25 +9.5 42
Troy 1,618 70 +9.1 43
Arizona State 1,490 85 +8.9 44
Duke 1,089 111 +8.7 45
Toledo 1,781 51 +8.4 46
Oregon State 1,655 60 +8.0 47
Central Michigan 1,247 100 +8.0 48
LSU 1,969 37 +7.9 49
Texas 1,456 87 +7.4 50
Oklahoma State 2,262 20 +7.3 51
TCU 2,277 18 +7.2 52
Houston 1,621 68 +7.2 53
Mississippi State 2,383 12 +6.7 54
Eastern Michigan 1,910 44 +6.6 55
Connecticut 2,199 22 +5.7 56
Oklahoma 1,860 45 +5.5 57
Georgia 1,599 73 +5.0 58
Utah 1,540 77 +4.7 59
UCLA 1,817 48 +4.5 60
Washington 2,345 16 +4.5 61
Iowa State 1,453 88 +4.1 62
Arkansas 1,940 42 +4.1 63
Tennessee 1,405 93 +3.6 64
UL-Lafayette 843 119 +3.5 65
Kent State 1,016 114 +3.5 66
Rutgers 1,082 112 +2.5 67
Cincinnati 1,650 61 +2.1 68
UAB 1,600 72 +2.0 69
Temple 1,683 57 +1.3 70
Washington State 1,180 105 +1.2 71
Colorado 1,630 67 +1.1 72
Purdue 1,406 92 +0.9 73
Florida International 1,845 47 +0.3 74
Bowling Green 952 116 +0.2 75
Illinois 3,179 4 +0.1 76
North Carolina 1,649 62 +0.0 77
Indiana 793 120 0.0 78
Arizona 1,471 86 -0.3 79
Iowa 1,692 55 -1.8 80
Northwestern 1,430 89 -2.2 81
Notre Dame 1,417 91 -2.2 82
N.C. State 1,580 74 -3.4 83
Utah State 1,718 53 -3.9 84
Texas Tech 1,633 66 -4.1 85
Louisiana Tech 1,564 76 -4.2 86
BYU 1,959 40 -4.6 87
USC 1,960 39 -4.9 88
Miami 1,943 41 -5.0 89
Tulane 1,519 80 -5.5 90
SMU 2,087 26 -5.8 91
Navy 2,388 11 -7.1 92
California 1,641 63 -7.5 93
Colorado State 1,105 109 -7.8 94
UTEP 1,199 103 -9.0 95
Air Force 2,449 10 -9.1 96
Virginia 1,532 78 -9.6 97
Western Kentucky 2,182 24 -10.8 98
Idaho 1,112 108 -11.2 99
Georgia Tech 2,647 9 -11.3 100
Kansas 1,229 101 -12.0 101
Syracuse 1,980 36 -12.2 102
Ohio 1,569 75 -12.2 103
South Florida 1,722 52 -12.4 104
Florida Atlantic 1,284 98 -12.8 105
UNLV 1,123 107 -13.7 106
San Jose State 987 115 -13.8 107
Penn State 1,639 64 -14.9 108
Akron 1,427 90 -16.3 109
Minnesota 1,512 81 -16.5 110
Boston College 1,804 49 -17.0 111
Army 2,268 19 -18.9 112
UL-Monroe 1,383 94 -19.6 113
New Mexico State 1,095 110 -20.2 114
West Virginia 1,660 59 -20.7 115
New Mexico 1,049 113 -21.6 116
Marshall 871 118 -23.1 117
Memphis 1,192 104 -24.4 118
Ball State 1,375 95 -25.3 119
Buffalo 895 117 -33.3 120

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