The Big Ten produced only one major national award winner in 2011, as Michigan's David Molk took home the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top center.
Given that the Big Ten has produced two of the past four Rimington Trophy winners -- Molk and Penn State's A.Q. Shipley in 2008 -- you should pay extra attention to the preseason fall list for the award revealed Tuesday.
Six Big Ten centers appear on the list. The Big Ten has the second most candidates behind the SEC (10).
Here's the Big Ten contingent:
James Ferentz, Iowa, senior
Travis Frederick, Wisconsin, junior
Will Matte, Indiana, senior
Graham Pocic, Illinois, senior
Matt Stankiewitch, Penn State, senior
Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern, sophomore
It's a pretty good group despite the league losing it's top two centers from 2011 (Molk and Wisconsin's Peter Konz).
Ferentz and Pocic look like the Big Ten's top candidates, but Frederick is a very intriguing name. The 6-foot-4, 328-pound Badgers junior started 11 games at left guard and two at center last season. He started two other games at center in 2009, becoming the first true freshman in team history to start a season opener on the offensive line. Frederick clearly has the ability and talent to play the position, and if he handles the transition well, he'll be right in the mix for the award.
Vitabile is one of eight sophomores on the preseason watch list.