Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Media Days: Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah Not Ready To Call Themselves the Best

The Big Ten arguably has a collection of running backs that is better than all the rest. Two of those backs, Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska and Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin, are also arguably two of the best in the country. They are also very modest when it comes to calling themselves the best running back in the Big Ten.

When asked at the Big Ten media days on Monday about who is the better of the two, Abdullah pointed at Gordon and said he was. “Nah, come on,” was the response that Gordon gave.

Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Ameer Abdullah (8) runs the ball for a touchdown against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously neither one wants to call themselves the best of the Big Ten. I have no problem saying one is better than the other. Don’t hate me Nebraska fans, but Gordon is the best running back in the conference. Not exactly going out on a limb with that bold statement. As good as Gordon was last season, I believe this year will be his best.

Abdullah did lead the Big Ten in rushing yards last year with 1,680. Gordon was a close second behind him with 1,609 yards. But Ameer did admit that he was constantly looking at the box score to see where he and Gordon sat.

Via Brent Yarina, senior editor of

Last year, I tried not to watch (the rushing leaderboard) early in the season. When I took the lead midway through the season, I was like, Melvin plays later, let’s see what he rushes for.

Here’s a glimpse of some of the best returning backs in the Big Ten and the yards they accumulated one season ago.

Ameer AbdullahNebraska1,690
Melvin GordonWisconsin1,609
Jeremy LangfordMichigan State 1,422
David CobbMinnesota1,202
Zach ZwinakPenn State989
Tevin ColemanIndiana958

With all the good running backs in this league also keep an eye on that last name, Tevin Coleman of the Indiana Hoosiers. A very good running back on a not-so-good team, Coleman will make some noise in the Big Ten this year. Gordon knows that as well.

“He is one of my favorites. People are going to hear a lot more about him this year.”

Fact of the matter is, this will be a two, possibly three-horse race for top rusher in the conference. Besides Abdullah and Gordon, you can throw Michigan State’s Jeremy Langford in the mix. At the end of the season, whether he wants to admit it or not, Gordon will come out on top.

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