Barry Sanders’ epic 1988 Heisman season at Oklahoma State has been named the greatest in college football history.
Sanders is mostly known for torching NFL defenses for the Detroit Lions, but he did it at the college level for the Cowboys in a fashion that is almost hard to comprehend. That’s why Sports Illustrated has deemed it the greatest single season ever witnessed. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)
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SI wrote the following when explaining the decision:
Sanders’s 1988 season started the same way as the previous season—with a kickoff return for a touchdown—and ended 2,628 rushing yards and 37 rushing touchdowns later (records that still stand to this day). Sanders could not be stopped, leaving defenders flailing in the dust all season. He capped it off with a 222-yard, five-touchdown performance in the Holiday Bowl—and he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter of the game.
I have to agree 100% with SI on this one. There are some other athletes who put up great performances in college, but there’s nobody who touches Sanders. There’s really not even anybody who comes close.
What the electric running back was virtually untouchable. He had no problem dominating NFL defenses. What he did to kids on the college gridiron should almost have been illegal.
It was cruel.
Imagine being 19 years old, playing defense for a college team and being told by your coach to get on the field and stop Barry Sanders.
Seriously, think about that for a second. Imagine being a 19 year old linebacker who has to take an algebra test on Friday and try to stop the most electric running back to ever play the game.
It’s almost comical to think about.
We might honestly never see a player to ever do it again at the level Sanders did in college, and I’m totally fine with that.
He was an all-class player, he did things the right way and he put up mind-boggling stats. There’s no question at all SI made the proper pick when they put Sanders at the top of the list.