Tuesday, November 30, 2010

About the All-Big Ten Honors

You see this guy?

His name is Denard Robinson, as I'm sure you are all well aware of. He was one of the most dynamic, electric players in college football this year, becoming the first quarterback in NCAA history to run and throw for more than 1,500 yards in one season. He led the Big Ten with 136.9 rushing yards per game, good for 4th in the nation, shattered Antwaan Randle El's previous rushing record by a Big Ten quarterback of 1,270 by finishing with 1,643 yards. He was in the top 20 in the country with a pass efficiency rating of 152.9, completing 62 percent of his passes for 2,316 yard. And he scored 30 total touchdowns, running for 14 and passes for another 16. Rightfully, Denard Robinson was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.

That's not the news here. No, the news is that despite being by far the best offensive player in the conference and one of the most terrorizing quarterbacks in the nation, despite being named the Offensive Player of the Year, Denard Robinson was somehow not named the First or Second Team All-Conference QB. What? How is that even possible? How can you be the best offensive player in the conference, and play quarterback, but not be the best quarterback in the conference? It makes no sense. None at all. But take a look at the All-Conference First and Second Teams. Denard Robinson, the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, is nowhere to be found. Northwestern's Dan Persa was named the first team QB, with Wisconsin's Scott Tolzien as the second team signal caller.

Don't get me wrong, Persa had a great year for the Wildcats, and Tolzien helped lead the Badgers to a share of the Big Ten title, but there isn't a chance in hell anyone in the Big Ten would rather have either one of those guys as their quarterback over Denard Robinson. Denard should have been named first team QB, with Persa as second team. No question about it. It doesn't make a lick of sense that the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year only gets Honorable Mention on the All-Conference team, especially when he was far and away the most dangerous quarterback in the conference.

I really need someone to explain this to me. Then again, I could use an explanation on the Penn Staters that were named to the team.

For starters, I have a really, really hard time believing that Stefen Wisniewski was one of the two best guards in the Big Ten this season.

Two years ago, sure. He was awesome as a sophomore. He really was. Then last season he moved to center out of necessity and struggled early on, becoming adequate as the year progressed. This year, back at guard from the very beginning, he was as much a part of the problems Penn State had on its offensive line as anyone. He was missing blocks, slow on pulling, overall struggling like the rest of the line. Yes, he stabilized as the season wore on, and he's by no means a terrible player, but if Stefen Wisniewski was named Stefen Jones, there's no way in hell he'd be named First Team All-Big Ten. None. He's just not at that level. He had some truly horrid games this season, some really good ones, but lacked the consistency needed, in my opinion, to make first team. Honestly, I would have him at Honorable Mention at best. Because his last name invokes memories of his All-Pro uncle, he gets more praise than he deserves. Like I said, I don't think Wisniewski is a bad player, but I do think he's perhaps the most overrated Penn State offensive lineman of my lifetime.

As for the Penn Staters named to the second team, with all due respect to Evan Royster and Ollie Ogbu, I don't think either player deserved it. Royster had such a slow start to his season that it's hard for me to take him making the all-conference team seriously. I guess it's more of a lifetime achievement award, being so tremendous for four seasons and becoming the all-time leading rusher in Penn State history. I don't have a huge problem with Royster being named to the second team, because he did get stronger as the year wore on and showed he could still have a huge impact, but his whole year was fairly underwhelming.

As for Ogbu, I just don't think he consistently made enough of an impact to warrant selection, though that may not have been his fault. Ogbu was definitely Penn State's best defensive tackle, and he received very little help from his linemates all season. Devon Still had some good games, but didn't have a season to write home about. Jack Crawford was MIA. Ditto any other defensive end not named Pete Massaro. So Ogbu was left to do it by his lonesome much of the time, and was forced to play a lot of snaps. I like the guy and think he's a great player. I was just surprised he was named to the second team.

The funny thing to me is that while Wisniewski was named first team and Royster named second team, Penn State's best and most consistent offensive player all year didn't make the cut. That would be Derek Moye, who had an absolutely tremendous season as the Nittany Lions' leading receiver, finishing among the Big Ten leaders in receiving yards, yards per catch and touchdowns.

If any Penn Stater deserved to be named to the All-Big Ten team, it was Moye. It's a shame the voters didn't feel the same way. Second team seems much more appropriate for Moye than Honorable Mention. Though I will admit, it would be tough to remove the four receivers selected: Tandon Doss of Indiana, Dane Sanzenbacher of Ohio State, and Marvn McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos of Iowa.

Also, Quinn Barham and Chris Colasanti don't deserve to be anywhere near honorable mention. D'Anton Lynn, who also was named, certainly belongs there.

As for the other big winners, Mark Dantonio was named Big Ten Coach of the Year, and you will hear no arguments from me there. No one expected Michigan State to contend with Ohio State and Wisconsin, yet here they are as co-Big Ten Champs with those two schools.

Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year because he was the Big Ten's best defensive player, much like Jared Odrick was last season. And Wisconsin had the Offensive Lineman of the Year in Gabe Carimi, who is the biggest beast on that beastly Wisconsin o-line, and the Freshman of the Year in running back James White, who was tremendous spelling John Clay. Can't argue with any of those either.

Interestingly, Terrelle Pryor, the man Ohio State fans keep touting as a Heisman candidate before every season despite never really putting up Heisman numbers, was also left off of the first and second teams, joining list of honorable mentions.

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing what name recognition can do for you. In Wisniewski's case, it would've taken another guard to play out of their mind for someone to take his spot, if for nothing else, the young man has name recognition. Perhaps there were others, but the powers that be elected not to showcase 'em.