Bo vs. Herschel: Who was the best?

Each side has plenty of evidence and is vehement in its beliefs.

Herschel Walker was a force at UGA. (UGA)

Herschel Walker was a force at UGA. (UGA)

There are folks who swear Herschel Walker is the best running back to ever plow under and step on college defenders.

And then there are those who uphold Bo Jackson as the radiant and supreme example of a running back.

No matter who you think was the best, they were both so marvelous in the 1980s we know them by one name: Herschel and Bo.

The topic has been debated for nearly 30 years, since Herschel left Georgia for the USFL and Bo was steamrolling tacklers while playing for Auburn.

Herschel led the Bulldogs to the national championship in 1980 and won the Heisman in 1982. His 5,259 yards and 49 touchdowns in three seasons remain a remarkable achievement.

Jackson vaulted into the nation’s collective with “Bo Over the Top” to defeat Alabama in 1982 and won the Heisman in 1985. His two-star prowess carried over to the NFL and MLB.

The Sporting News continued the argument earlier today, with an article that contains some writers’ thoughts about who they think was the best, with Herschel taking 55 percent of the votes to Bo’s 45 percent.

Bo Jackson could do it all. (AP photo)

Bo Jackson could do it all. (AP photo)

A few examples:

Rod Gilmore, ESPN College Football Analyst/former Stanford DB: Bo. Fastest big man I’ve ever seen, and more powerful than Herschel.

Josh Kendall, The (Columbia, S.C.) State: Herschel Walker. I’d take either one of them and like my chances just fine, but Herschel gets the nod because he was more of a workhorse. He averaged fewer yards per carry than Jackson (5.3 to 6.6) but carried the ball 344 more times than Jackson despite playing only three years to Jackson’s four.

Charles Davis, FOX College Football/former Tennessee DB: I played against Bo in college. Tackled him and came up looking out of my ear hole!

Carlos Alvarez, Hall of Fame receiver at Florida: Herschel. We are talking about unstoppability and durability — an offense of one.

I had never seen a running back like Herschel before his career at Georgia. There were big, strong and powerful backs before him — Earl Campbell comes to mind — but that combination with his speed was remarkable.

Bo was an amazing athlete — I’ll never forget his long run and disappearing up a tunnel in an NFL game and homering in the All-Star Game a couple of years later — who was forced to retire in his prime.

Both are legends, but I’ll take Herschel.


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