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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Miller, Simon lead B1G award winners

By Brian Bennett

The Big Ten announced the winners of its four major awards on Tuesday night, and Ohio State and Penn State split them.

Here you go:

Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year: Ohio State QB Braxton Miller

Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year: Ohio State DE John Simon

Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year: Penn State DE Deion Barnes

Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year (coaches vote): Bill O’Brien, Penn State

Dave McClain Coach of the Year (media vote): Bill O’Brien, Penn State

We made our thoughts pretty clear on who we liked for these awards in our endorsements earlier today. I endorsed three of the winners, while Adam had two.

The mildly surprising one, of course, is Simon. The Buckeyes senior led the Big Ten in sacks (14) and finished third in tackles for loss (14.5) and was the emotional leader for the Ohio State defense. We certainly had him among our top candidates for the award and would love to have seen what kind of numbers Simon would have put up if he weren't playing through pain much of the year.

We both endorsed Penn State's Michael Mauti and viewed Simon's teammate, linebacker Ryan Shazier, as the other top candidate. But Simon was named the league's defensive lineman of the year on Monday and is very respected by coaches throughout the league. We have no major quarrel with this selection.

Miller held off a charge by Nebraska's Taylor Martinez to win the offensive player of the year award. I find it very amusing that Miller won this honor and was named the quarterback of the year in the league, yet the coaches voted him as a second-team All-Big Ten performer. Whoops.

Barnes was the biggest lock of any of the award choices. O'Brien beat out Ohio State's Urban Meyer, who capped off a 12-0 season but couldn't win the coach of the year award. O'Brien was rewarded as much for what he had to deal with off the field as his tremendous work on it.

Ohio State product Chris Spielman won the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award, while Michigan's Jon Runyan, a U.S. Congressman from New Jersey, won the Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award.