Friday, December 14, 2012
Venric Mark named FWAA all-American
By Brian Bennett
The Football Writers Association of America released its All-America team on Friday, but they should have just named an All-SEC team.
I'll get back to that in a moment, but first let's congratulate Northwestern's Venric Mark for earning a spot as the team's punt returner. Mark had an outstanding all-around season and deserves all the recognition he can get.
But Mark was the only Big Ten player to be named to the team, which had a seriously Southern bias.
Eleven of the 26 players on the squad were from the SEC. Eleven! That includes four of the five offensive linemen (hailing from just two schools -- Alabama and Texas A&M), two of the four defensive line spots and three of the four defensive back positions. Sure, you can't argue with the SEC's success. But to have an All-America team this dominated by one conference is simply too much. There are great players all over the country.
When the FWAA committee did look outside of Dixie, it swung and missed. Wisconsin running back Montee Ball, the Doak Walker Award winner, was shut out in favor of Oregon's Kenjon Barner and UCLA's Johnathan Franklin. The MAC had twice as many players on the team as the Big Ten. I'm sure Bowling Green's Chris Jones is an excellent player, but was he better than Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins or Penn State's Jordan Hill? And it's a shame to see Michael Mauti once again left off another All-America team.
Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, who was named a first-team All-American by several other organizations, did not get a spot from the FWAA. If only he played in the SEC ...