Is Emmitt Smith’s All-Time Rushing Record at Risk?

September 5, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments

A few weeks ago, I completed a study detailing Emmitt Smith’s chances of breaking college football’s all-time rushing record (had he stayed in school).  Using statistical projections and the normal distribution, I concluded Smith had a 3-5 percent chance of breaking Tony Dorsett’s then all-time rushing record (and just a 0.1 chance of still being college’s all-time leading rusher).
The nature of college football and abundance of backs makes the record susceptible.  
Two running backs (Ricky Williams and Ron Dayne) have subsequently broken Dorsett’s mark, and a few generally recent runners have come pretty close as well (DeAngelo Williams, Cedric  Benson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Garrett Wolfe, Mike Hart, and Darren Sproles).
Emmitt Smith’s NFL rushing record of 18,355 yards seems much more unapproachable.  
For starters, the method by which running backs are employed has altered drastically even sinc...

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