If there's any doubt that the Big Ten is blessed with great running backs, the release of the Doak Walker semifinalists list should dispel that.
The conference boasts three of the 10 semifinalists for the prestigious award, which goes to the nation's top running back. That ties the Big Ten with the Pac-12, which also has 30 percent of the honorees.
The semifinalists are:
Montee Ball, Wisconsin
Kenjon Barner, Oregon
Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State
Giovani Bernard, North Carolina
David Fluellen, Toledo
Johnathan Franklin, UCLA
Stefphon Jefferson, Nevada
Venric Mark, Northwestern
Joseph Randle, Oklahoma State
Stepfan Taylor, Stanford
Looks like the Doak Walker committee got this one right. Ball (1,028), Bell (1,249) and Mark (1,077) are the top three rushing tailbacks in the league this year, and all have already gone over 1,000 yards. You could build a case for Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah and Ohio State's Carlos Hyde, but both were under the radar coming into the year and likely won't finish with better stats then the three guys from the league who were chosen.
Ball was a finalist last year for the award, which went to Alabama's Trent Richardson. Right now, the favorite is probably Oregon's Barner, a Heisman candidate who is second in the FBS in rushing and leads the nation in rushing touchdowns (19) while averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
This year's three finalists will be named Nov. 19, and the 2012 Doak Walker Award winner will be announced Dec. 6 on The Home Depot College Football Awards on ESPN.