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Thursday, July 17, 2014
Poll: All-Big 12 snub with biggest gripe?

By Jake Trotter

On Wednesday, the Big 12 released its official All-Big 12 team, which is voted together by media that covers the conference.

Like any other all-whatever team, there were several players deserving of making the cut that didn’t. But who had the biggest gripe about being left off the preseason All-Big 12 team?

Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper has a compelling grievance, considering he was All-Big 12 last year as a sophomore. Tapper, in fact, was the only defensive underclassman named All-Big 12 in 2013.

Tapper, however, isn’t the only one with a gripe.

Texas running back Johnathan Gray probably also would have been All-Big 12 last season, had he not torn his Achilles at West Virginia in early November. Gray rushed for 141 yards against Kansas State and 123 against Oklahoma. Teammate Malcom Brown took over at running back after Gray’s injury, and rushed for more than 100 yards in the Longhorns’ final three games. As a result, although Gray is expected to be good to go for the opener, Brown was selected to the preseason team over him.

Only five offensive linemen have more career starts than West Virginia guard Quinton Spain, who has been the Mountaineers’ top offensive lineman the past two seasons. Spain and Mark Glowinski form arguably the league’s best one-two punch at guard. Among the offensive linemen left off, Spain might have the biggest beef.

TCU cornerback Kevin White got overshadowed last year by All-American teammate Jason Verrett. And he’s getting overshadowed this preseason by safeties Sam Carter and Chris Hackett. But White was one of the better cornerbacks in the league last year, and should be one of the Big 12’s best this season.

Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman isn’t as accomplished as the other players mentioned above. But he might have the biggest upside. Despite being a part-time player last year, Oakman ranked sixth in the Big 12 in tackles for loss. Coach Art Briles called the 6-foot-9 Oakman “unblockable” during the spring, and is probably the biggest reason why Briles believes Baylor will have one of the best offensive lines in the country.

But we’re leaving it to you to decide via our weekly Big 12 poll – who actually has the biggest gripe?