Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 12/30/11

Running back LaMichael James made some headlines this week. For what appeared to be his deathly fear of roller coasters.

He’s not afraid to go really fast on the college football field, as he is the focal point of Oregon Ducks offense. The Ducks go at a ridiculously fast pace; as they have scored 35 touchdowns on drives of 70 or more; each consuming less than three minutes. James is averaging a national best 149.6 yards on the ground while running for 1,646 yards; 4th in the country. Despite missing two games with a dislocated elbow.

He’s the school’s all-time leading rusher; just 77 yards shy of 5,000. Just don’t confuse with LeGarrette Blount, which is surprisingly easier to do than you think. James took over for the now Tampa Bay Buccaneers tailback at Oregon when Blount was suspended for his involvement in that brawl in 2009.

But question #1 for James is obviously: forgoing his senior year to enter the NFL draft?

“There’s nothing going on,” James said. “I haven’t discussed that with my family, and I’m not thinking about it right now. I don’t want to make a decision or announcement. I owe to it my teammates, fans and coaches to think about them right now.”

His draft stock was highest at the end of 2010 when he was the Doak Walker Award winner, a 2010 Heisman Trophy finalist (finishing 3rd) and First Team AP All-American.

Watch out for the Ducks in the third quarter especially; that’s when they’re at their best and have a tendency to bury their opponents.

“I think the tempo helps. When you’re playing fast the whole game, you’re going for halftime, I think those guys come out, they’re a little bit tired. That’s when things start to open up for us. You notice it in the beginning of the games, everyone’s flying around. A lot of energy. But come time second half, those guys are a little tired. I think it works to our benefit,” James said of the Oregon up-tempo ways, and their fast starts in the second half.

Given that Wisconsin’s Montee Ball will most likely break the all-time record for single season touchdowns in this game, and his status as a Heisman finalist, it’s only natural to play up the angle of Ball vs. James in this Rose Bowl.

“You know, he’s probably 215 pounds and I’m like 190. So there’s a huge difference. He runs in the I. I run in the spread. He’s really nifty, from being a bigger guy, running out of the I. And I just think we’re very different players. But he has 40 touchdowns. I think he’s one of the best running backs in the country right now,” LaMichael said of the Badgers banner runner.

James is ready to go January 2nd:

“I’m always excited no matter, today, tomorrow, the game, I’m going to continue being the same person when the ball is kicked off. Sometimes Kenjon says I’m a little immature because I’m always playing half the time and laughing, even during the game. You have to live life out there,” he said.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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