Discussion

Oregon owns nation's best backfield

Updated: July 13, 2011, 3:19 PM ET
By Bruce Feldman

Next week starts the annual conference media days, which signal that teams are close to reporting for camp and the season is almost here. So for this week's list we decided to look at some of the stars who will take the field this season, homing in on the top 10 backfields (quarterbacks and running backs) in the country:

1. Oregon Ducks

The Ducks have a very, very good quarterback in Darron Thomas and a great running back in LaMichael James, a pair of standout Texans who are thriving in the Pac-12. James, who is a legit Heisman contender, ran for 1,731 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2010. The Ducks also have a dangerous backup to James, Kenjon Barner, who gained 551 yards and averaged more than 6 yards per carry last season.

Thomas, a 6-foot-3, 212-pound junior, may get overlooked because of James' presence and because he plays in the same conference as Andrew Luck, but the Ducks passer is a lethal triggerman in Chip Kelly's scheme. He ran for almost 500 yards last season while averaging more than 5 yards per rush in addition to posting a stellar 30-to-9 TD-to-INT ratio.

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