A wave of college football preseason awards watch lists are heading our way this week. On one hand, that's great because it signals that kickoff is nearing, and it's always fun to see who the various award committees choose as their preseason nominees. On the other hand, don't read too much into them. These are lists often concocted via nominations from schools' sports information departments, and they contain dozens of names of players who had good seasons in 2012. The winner of the award doesn't even have to come from the watch list and often doesn't (see Manziel, Johnny).
Anyway, it's still interesting to get a gauge of where Big Ten players stand in national perception in the preseason. Two big awards -- the Maxwell, which goes to the nation's best player, and the Bednarik, which goes to the top defensive player -- came out with their watch lists on Monday.
You can see all the nominees here. And here are the Big Ten players on each list:
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern
Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
James White, RB, Wisconsin
Zach Zwinak, RB, Penn State
Deion Barnes, DE, Penn State
C.J. Barnett, S, Ohio State
Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin
Jonathan Brown, LB, Illinois
Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
James Morris, LB, Iowa
Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
Overall, some pretty good selections. I was surprised to see Zwinak on the Maxwell list. He had a 1,000-yard season last year but isn't really regarded as a superstar, and it seems to me Nittany Lions receiver Allen Robinson would be the more obvious choice for the Maxwell honor. I can't really argue with any of the picks for the Bednarik, though I think Northwestern's Tyler Scott probably deserved mention here.
Again, it's hard to get too worked up over preseason watch lists, and these seem to have gotten it mostly right.