Big Ten: Josh Oglesby

Earlier this week, I asked you to identify the Big Ten's strongest position group. Not surprisingly, running back ran away from the competition with 53 percent of the vote.

SportsNation

What is the Big Ten's weakest position group entering the season?

  •  
    59%
  •  
    14%
  •  
    19%
  •  
    8%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,366)

Can't blame you there. The Big Ten returns its top three running backs from 2011 -- Heisman Trophy finalist Montee Ball, Nebraska's Rex Burkhead and Penn State's Silas Redd -- along with a group of others (Michigan's Fitzgerald Toussaint, Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell) who should be very good. While it's a little surprising cornerback didn't receive more votes (9 percent), the results went mostly as expected.

Now it's time to select the position where the Big Ten is lacking the most. This vote could be a bit closer, although I have an idea of which position will pull away. Graduation losses and departures to the NFL hit certain positions harder than others. Some position groups, like safety, lacked star power in 2011 and might be a bit weak again this season.

The accompanying poll includes four choices. To refresh your memory, I've made a brief case for why each position could be the weakest in the league.

Wide receiver: League loses top seven pass-catchers from 2011, including first-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins (Illinois) and all first- and second-team All-Big Ten selections (Jenkins, Iowa's Marvin McNutt, Michigan State's B.J. Cunningham, Northwestern's Jeremy Ebert and Wisconsin's Nick Toon).

Offensive tackle: Not the strongest position in 2011, and league loses Iowa's Riley Reiff, a first-round draft pick, as well as Ohio State's Mike Adams and Illinois' Jeff Allen, both second-round picks. Also gone are Wisconsin's Josh Oglesby, Purdue's Dennis Kelly and Northwestern's Al Netter.

Safety: Arguably the Big Ten's weakest position in 2011, and the league loses first-team all-conference selections Trenton Robinson (Michigan State) and Brian Peters (Northwestern). Penn State's Nick Sukay and Wisconsin's Aaron Henry also are among those departing the league.

Center: The Big Ten loses Rimington Trophy winner David Molk of Michigan, as well as Wisconsin's Peter Konz, a second-round draft pick. Also gone are Nebraska's Mike Caputo and Ohio State's Mike Brewster, who shared second-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches.

Now it's time to vote. Make yours count.
The NFL draft is a little more than 24 hours away, and our analysts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr. have come out with their final mock drafts.

(Let's pause here for a moment of silence for the 2012 mock draft process. May it rest in peace. But never fear, the 2013 mocks are just around the corner!).

There's not a ton of change in Kiper's final first-round mock Insider. Iowa's Riley Reiff is still the top Big Ten player off the board, now at No. 18 to San Diego. Kiper has Illinois DE Whitney Mercilus one spot behind Reiff, to the Bears. The only other Big Ten player he has going in the first round is Wisconsin guard Kevin Zeitler, at No. 30 to San Francisco.

McShay, along with Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl from Scouts Inc. have undertaken the massive enterprise of mocking the entire seven rounds of the draft Insider. Whew. Here's where they have Big Ten products heading:

Round 1

No. 13: Reiff
No. 25: Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State
No. 28: Mercilus
No. 30: Zeitler

Round 2

No. 34: Jeff Allen, OT, Illinois
No. 35: Devon Still, DT, Penn State
No. 43: Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska
No. 44: Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
No. 47: Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
No. 51: Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State
No. 63: A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois

Round 3

No. 89: Mike Martin, DT, Michigan

Round 4

No. 96: Mike Daniels DT, Iowa
No. 97: Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska
No. 99: Adam Gettis, G, Iowa
No. 106: Nick Toon, WR, Wisconsin
No. 118: Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa
No. 120: Keshawn Martin, WR, Michigan State
No. 121: Markus Zusevics, OT, Iowa
No. 123: Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
No. 126: Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan State
No. 132: Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska

Round 5

No. 137: David Molk, C, Michigan
No. 150: Marvin McNutt, WR, Iowa
No. 161: Trent Robinson, S, Michigan State
No. 163: Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State
No. 165: DeVier Posey, WR, Ohio State

Round 6

No. 207: Jack Crawford, DE, Penn State

Round 7

No. 211: B.J. Cunningham, WR, Michigan State
No. 216: Aaron Henry, S, Wisconsin
No. 219: Dan Herron, RB, Ohio State
No. 221: Derek Dimke, K, Illinois
No. 223: Tyler Nielsen, LB, Iowa
No. 231: Marcel Jones, OT, Nebraska
No. 244: Junior Hemingway, WR, Michigan
No. 247: Bradie Ewing, FB, Wisconsin
No. 248: Kevin Koger, TE, Michigan

A few notables not listed on this seven-round mock: Northwestern WR Jeremy Ebert, TE Drake Dunsmore, and QB Dan Persa; Penn State WR Derek Moye; Minnesota WR Da'Jon McKnight, Michigan DE Ryan Van Bergen, Wisconsin OT Josh Oglesby.

How accurate are these mock drafts? It is almost time to find out. Let's do this for real.
Every year, it seems like a Wisconsin offensive lineman emerges to become an All-American.

Two years ago, John Moffitt and Gabe Carimi earned All-America honors. Peter Konz and Kevin Zeitler did the same in 2011. If it happens again this year, a guy who knows as much about computers as he does football seems like the smart bet.

[+] EnlargeTravis Frederick
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswireJunior Travis Frederick will be counted on to hold up the Badgers' offensive line in 2012.
Junior Travis Frederick started at left guard for the Badgers last year before Konz got hurt against Minnesota. Midway through the Illinois game the next week, Frederick slid over to take Konz's spot at center after Ryan Groy had some snapping problems. Frederick stayed there for the win over Penn State and the Big Ten championship game against Michigan State, and Wisconsin didn't miss a beat without Konz, whom many project as a first-round NFL pick next month.

Frederick could assume Konz's former role on a full-time basis this season. That's mostly where he's been working out during winter conditioning drills, though he'll likely also see time at guard when Wisconsin opens spring practice next week. Wherever he ends up, Frederick knows the bar has been set awfully high by previous stars on the Thick Red Line.

"All we can do is hope to carry on what they left behind," Frederick said. "Obviously that's a goal of mine, to be able to play at a high level and get that sort of recognition, because that means you're helping your team. Whether or not I get that individual recognition, I'm going to do what I can to help the team, be it at center or guard or wherever it is."

Frederick believes one reason for the robust tradition at Wisconsin is that offensive linemen have always been able to look up to strong leaders. When he was a freshman, he followed the work habits of Moffitt and guard Bill Nagy. Konz and Zeitler helped set the standard last season. This year's O-line group is young, with Ricky Wagner and Robert Burge the only seniors. And since Wagner, the lone upperclassman with any starting experience, is a quiet guy by nature, Frederick has worked this winter on his leadership skills.

"Ryan Groy and I are trying to take over and be a little more vocal," he said. "We're just helping the group along with the transition we've been faced with."

Replacing three starters — all-conference tackle Josh Oglesby also graduated — isn't the only transition the Badgers' big uglies face. For the first time in their careers, they will have a new position coach in Mike Markuson after Bob Bostad left to join Paul Chryst's staff at Pittsburgh. There's also a new offensive coordinator in Matt Canada, and the players are eager to see what changes are in store for them.

"It's been kind of odd for all of us because we haven't really had a playbook yet," Frederick said. "Some of the stuff is just starting to trickle down and some of it is just starting to get set in stone. So for us, it's kind of a waiting game of, when will we get this new stuff so we can try to learn it?"

But head coach Bret Bielema has promised the offense won't look much different, and why would it? Wisconsin has had one of the most successful and consistent offensive attacks in the country, led by its powerful line and running game. While quarterback remains an uncertainty heading into spring and possibly summer, Montee Ball is back for his senior season after leading the nation in rushing yards and touchdowns.

"That meant a lot to us that he came back," Frederick said. "It told us he trusted the offensive line to help him continue to get good numbers."

Frederick has earned the trust of the coaching staff over his career. He was the first true freshman offensive lineman ever to start an opener for Wisconsin when he lined up at center against Northern Illinois in 2009. He took a redshirt year in 2010 when the Badgers were stuffed with talent on the line and came back last year to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors.

The 6-foot-4, 330-pounder is one of the strongest players in the program, having reportedly squatted 730 pounds with a 500-pound bench press last year. He may also be one of the team's smartest player, challenging himself with a double major in computer engineering and computer science. You might expect to find a man his size at the buffet line, but he spends much of his time away from football in the computer lab.

"I always wondered how computers worked," he said. "To think that everything in a computer comes down to electrons and electricity flowing through wires is really kind of amazing to me. To figure out how it works and understand it down to a semiconductor transistor level is really very interesting."

Frederick's recent class projects have included writing programs for operating systems and designing an integer divider coprocessor.

"It's been a lot of fun," he said.

We'll have to take his word on that. But the idea that Travis Frederick can become the next star on the Wisconsin offensive line certainly does compute.
By now, it's pretty obvious who the last men standing are in our countdown of the Big Ten's top 25 players of 2011.

It's always a difficult exercise because there are many deserving players, and limiting ourselves to only 25 nominees means some excellent candidates got left out. So let's take a look at some of the toughest omissions.

First, here are the players who were on our preseason list who didn't survive the cut for the postseason honors and the reasons why:

Preseason No. 25: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin: One of the hardest players to leave off the list, as Borland had an excellent season with 143 tackles and was one of the top linebackers in the league. We chose to go with his position mate, Mike Taylor, though Borland was probably No. 26 on our list.

Preseason No. 24: Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State: Mauti was well on his way to a strong season before he suffered another knee injury that forced him to miss most of the year.

Preseason No. 22: Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa: Prater's tackle and interception numbers dipped from his junior year, and Iowa's pass defense as a whole was disappointing.

Preseason No. 21: Nathan Scheelhaase, QB, Illinois: Scheelhaase got off to a good start in 2011, but he and the rest of the Illini offense were MIA for the second half of the season.

Preseason No. 19: Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue: Allen had a good season, with 79 tackles and three interceptions, and just missed our list.

Preseason No. 16: Derek Moye, WR, Penn State: Moye dealt with an injury midseason, but what really hurt him was poor quarterback play.

Preseason No. 9: Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan State: Baker didn't build off his breakout 2010 campaign and became the second option behind Le'Veon Bell late in the season.

Preseason No. 3: Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern: Persa was still really good when he was in the lineup; he just wasn't in the lineup enough because of injury issues.

Preseason No. 1: Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska: Crick was a little quiet early in the season, and then he suffered a season-ending torn pectoral muscle in October.

Here are a few other guys who just missed the cut:

Michigan State CB Johnny Adams: I really liked the year Adams had, and he was on my initial top 25 list. Very difficult to leave him off.

Michigan State G Joel Foreman and Wisconsin OT Josh Oglesby: Two of the best offensive linemen in the league, but we already had a bunch of linemen on the list in a strong year for the big uglies in the Big Ten.

Nebraska P/K Brett Maher: Unfortunately, kickers and punters don't get a lot of love on lists like these.

Wisconsin S Aaron Henry: If we could have considered interview skills as part of the criteria, Henry would have been in the top 10.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Many of the underclassmen who finished just outside the top 25 will likely appear on our 2012 preseason list this summer. If you have players you feel strongly about who we didn't include in our top 25 -- and I'm betting you do -- drop me a line and tell me who and why. We'll discuss it in a future post.

B1G combine contingent gets to work

February, 22, 2012
2/22/12
10:00
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The NFL scouting combine kicks off today in Indianapolis, and 45 Big Ten players will be part of the most scrutinized job interview in sports.

Here's the full schedule of events. The first set of interviews take place Wednesday, and position group workouts take place from Friday-Tuesday.

Here are some of the Big Ten storylines at the combine:

    [+] EnlargeRussell Wilson
    Chuck Cook/US PresswireRussell Wilson needs to convince teams that his less-than-ideal height won't hold him back at the next level.
  • The quarterbacks are always a story in Indy, and Wisconsin's Russell Wilson and Michigan State's Kirk Cousins will be representing the Big Ten. Wilson's biggest obstacle is his height, and he'll have to show he can throw over the top of massive linemen and make all the throws. He won't lack for motivation. Cousins had a strong showing during Senior Bowl week. He wants to put himself in that second group of quarterbacks behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. A strong combine performance could be the difference between being a third-round pick and a fifth-rounder.
  • Can Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy solidify himself in the first round? Worthy has moved around the mock drafts quite a bit during the past few months. There are obvious pluses to his game, namely his brute strength and ability to clog rushing lanes and drop quarterbacks. But some have questioned his motor and whether he takes too many plays off. He'll be under the microscope in Indy, especially from a conditioning standpoint.
  • The combine will be huge for Nebraska cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, who saw his stock drop during Senior Bowl week and missed the game because of a hip injury. Huskers coach Bo Pelini has called Dennard the nation's best cornerback, and he showed shutdown skills at times last season. But he has some work to do to get back in the first-round picture.
  • Remember Jared Crick? I ranked him as the Big Ten's No. 1 player entering the season, but he played in only five games before being sidelined with a torn pectoral muscle. Crick needs to show he's healthy and that he can thrive when not playing alongside Ndamukong Suh.
  • It will be interesting to see which Big Ten offensive linemen can boost their stock in Indy. Iowa left tackle Riley Reiff doesn't have much to prove and should be the league's first player drafted in April, but it'll be interesting to see how Wisconsin center Peter Konz, Ohio State center Mike Brewster, Wisconsin tackle Josh Oglesby, Illinois tackle Jeff Allen, Ohio State tackle Mike Adams and others perform. Konz certainly could be the first center drafted, while many project Adams in the first round. Oglesby is among the players trying to prove they can hold up after dealing with several knee injuries with the Badgers. Brewster's stock dropped at the Senior Bowl, and he finished the season as the Big Ten's No. 3 center after entering the fall as a preseason All-American.
  • Michigan State running back Edwin Baker surprised some by declaring for the draft. His production dropped off significantly in 2011, although Michigan State had some issues along the offensive line. Still, Baker needs a big performance in Indy to impress the talent evaluators.
  • Ohio State receiver DeVier Posey appeared in only three games as a senior because of suspension. He has the physical gifts to be an effective pro wideout, but he'll need a strong week before the scouts in Indy. Evaluators also will be trying to assess his character after some off-field missteps at Ohio State.
  • The combine is all about numbers, and Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin might post some huge ones this week. Martin, one of the strongest players in college football, is bench pressing 505 pounds and squatting more than 700. Stephen Paea's combine record of 49 reps of 225 pounds could be in jeopardy. Martin should finish among the leaders in his position group in several categories.

Spring preview: Leaders Division

February, 17, 2012
2/17/12
10:00
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After taking a look at the Legends Division outlook for spring practice, it's time to turn the focus to the Leaders Division.

Away we go ...

ILLINOIS

Start of spring practice: March 7
Spring game: April 14

What to watch:
  • New faces in new roles: Tim Beckman and his assistants get their first chance to work with the players on the field. Beckman retained only one assistant (defensive line coach Keith Gilmore) from the previous staff, so it'll be important for the players and coaches to get acclimated. It's also a big spring for co-offensive coordinators Billy Gonzales and Chris Beatty, both of whom will be primary playcallers for the first time at this level.
  • The quarterbacks: Nathan Scheelhaase is a two-year starter, but he'll have to re-establish himself as the team's top option at quarterback. Reilly O'Toole received a decent amount of field time last season, and Illinois should have a competition under center in spring practice. Both men will have to learn a new offense and show good decision-making skills after combining to throw 12 interceptions last fall.
  • No Merci: All-American defensive end Whitney Mercilus is gone, and Illinois will be looking for his replacement this spring. The defensive line could once again be a strength for the Illini, especially with Gilmore back and an aggressive defensive coordinator in Tim Banks. It'll be interesting to see how the coaches use Michael Buchanan and Justin Staples, who played the "bandit" position in the previous scheme and boast speed but don't have typical defensive end size.
INDIANA

Start of spring practice: March 3
Spring game: April 14

What to watch:
  • Juco fever: Indiana needs a quick fix on defense, and it hopes an influx of junior college players can provide one. Six juco players already are enrolled and will participate in spring practice, including five on the defensive side. It will be interesting to see how players such as defensive back Tregg Waters and linebackers Justin Rayside and Jacarri Alexander perform this spring as they compete to play right away.
  • New direction on offense: Coach Kevin Wilson wants to be more productive in the passing game, and he hired an offensive coordinator in Seth Littrell who can help in that area. Littrell guided an Arizona offense that last season ranked third nationally in passing (370.8 ypg) and 27th in pass efficiency (145.2). He'll try to help Tre Roberson, who Wilson said he thinks can elevate his game significantly as a passer despite throwing twice as many interceptions (six) as touchdowns (three) as a freshman.
  • Who has grown up: Indiana played 32 freshmen (16 true, 16 redshirt) in 2011, the most in the FBS. The early experience should pay off for several players, and Indiana needs them to grow up quickly during the spring. Roberson showed a lot of promise at quarterback, and safety Mark Murphy finished second on the team with 76 tackles. Keep an eye on players such as defensive end Bobby Richardson and receiver/returner Shane Wynn.
OHIO STATE

Start of spring practice: March 28
Spring game: April 21

What to watch:
  • Urban renewal: The mood has improved around Ohio State's program from the moment Urban Meyer stepped to the podium Nov. 28. After putting together his staff, signing an elite recruiting class and ticking off some of his Big Ten coaching colleagues, Meyer finally gets a chance to work with the players on the practice field. After a lackluster final season at Florida in 2010, Meyer says he's refreshed and recharged, and it'll be interesting to see how he attacks practices.
  • The new offense: Ohio State fans can't wait for a new offense after suffering through a 2011 season that featured some extremely questionable play-calling. Meyer's offensive system is well-known throughout college football, but the interesting thing this spring will be how Meyer and offensive coordinator Tom Herman blend their ideas. Herman is a dynamic young coach who impressed a lot of folks at Iowa State. But Ohio State is a different animal, and expectations will be high for quarterback Braxton Miller and the unit.
  • Fickell back on defense: After spending last season as Ohio State's head coach, Luke Fickell returns to an assistant role on the defensive side. And for the first time, Fickell will be the Buckeyes' primary defensive playcaller. Ohio State's defense took a step back last season and will be looking to regain its traditional form. Fickell will work alongside co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers and look to identify some leaders to complement defensive lineman John Simon.
PENN STATE

Start of spring practice: March 26
Spring game: April 21

What to watch:
  • O'Brien's time: Much will be made of Penn State opening spring ball without Joe Paterno, but the real story is how critical these practices will be for new coach Bill O'Brien and his team. Penn State will be acclimating to new systems on both sides of the ball and a new coaching style from O'Brien and his assistant coaches, all but two of whom are from the outside. The learning curve will be accelerated for all involved, as Penn State needs to get a lot done in 15 workouts.
  • The quarterbacks: It's good that O'Brien has extensive experience coaching quarterbacks because no position needs a bigger upgrade at Penn State. The Lions struggled mightily under center last season and need a major boost beginning this spring. Can O'Brien get more out of Matthew McGloin and Rob Bolden, both of whom have seen extensive time in the Big Ten? How does Paul Jones factor into the mix? It'll be interesting to see how the signal-callers perform this spring.
  • Filling gaps on defense: Penn State should have one of the nation's best linebacker groups this season, but the Lions need to fill some holes on the line and in the secondary. Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Devon Still departs, and Penn State will be leaning on Jordan Hill and others to step up. A bigger concern is the secondary, which loses two multiyear starters at safety (Drew Astorino and Nick Sukay). Penn State also has a new defensive coordinator in Ted Roof, who will be looking for better results than he had at Auburn.
PURDUE

Start of spring practice: March 7
Spring game: April 14

What to watch:
  • Another quarterback competition: Boilers coach Danny Hope loves having options at quarterback, and he'll once again get his wish during spring practice. Caleb TerBush, Robert Marve,Rob Henry and Sean Robinson all boast starting experience and will vie for the No. 1 job when workouts resume. Henry, who sizzled last spring and would have started the season if not for a torn ACL, has been cleared to participate in noncontact drills. Marve received an extra year of eligibility and will be in the mix. TerBush started every game last season.
  • Tisebar takes over: Purdue has a new defensive coordinator for the third consecutive season, as Tim Tisebar takes over this spring. Tisebar returns to college football after spending the past three seasons with the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes. Hope hired Tisebar to help Purdue improve against the spread offense and the zone-read game. It will be interesting to see what spin Tisebar puts on the defense as the Boilers enter a pivotal season.
  • Offensive line depth: One of Purdue's strengths last season is a bit light on bodies following several departures. The Boilers need a left tackle to replace Dennis Kelly, and they also must increase depth on the interior line. Purdue already has moved tight end Robert Kugler to center, and Hope said earlier this month that several other tight ends could practice at offensive tackle during the spring.
WISCONSIN

Start of spring practice: March 17
Spring game: April 28

What to watch:
  • A revamped staff: Bret Bielema hired six new assistant coaches during the winter months, including offensive coordinator Matt Canada. The new coaches will have their first opportunity to work with players on the field this spring. It's important for both sides to acclimate, mainly because Wisconsin has had tremendous success the past two seasons and doesn't want the staff shakeup to throw things off course. Quarterback Russell Wilson made a seamless transition to the program last summer. Let's see if the new assistants can do the same in spring ball.
  • The quarterbacks: Speaking of Wilson, he departs Madison, leaving a major void under center. Jon Budmayr and Curt Phillips are coming off of major injuries, and while they're both making progress it could be tough to get a gauge on them this spring. Canada will spend much of his time working with Joel Stave and Joe Brennan, who need to get comfortable with Canada's adjustments to the offense and start establishing themselves as potential team leaders.
  • Reloading up front: Wisconsin will have to replace two All-American offensive linemen for the second consecutive year, and the Badgers lose three All-Big Ten selections up front (Peter Konz, Kevin Zeitler and Josh Oglesby). While the Badgers are built to reload, offensive line coach Mike Markuson has a lot of evaluating to do this spring. On the defensive line, Wisconsin loses two starters (Patrick Butrym and Louis Nzegwu) and will be looking for some difference-makers. End David Gilbert returns to the mix after missing most of last season with a broken foot.

Big Ten Thursday mailbag

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
2:30
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E. Gordon Gee says if you're not sending questions into this mailbag, you need to get a life.

Let's answer some emails:

Ben from Connecticut writes: If the Big Ten's playoff proposal is adopted, do you see activist voters determining homefield advantage in the 2 v 3 matchup? Given what happened between Alabama/Ok. State, Florida/Michigan, and Texas/Cal, I'd be a lot more comfortable if a body more accountable than the BCS were in charge of seeding. I don't want a bunch of voters bumping Florida up a notch so they don't have to travel to Madison in December.

Brian Bennett: Ben, I think the poll jockeying would likely involve who's No. 4 vs. No. 5 instead of the home sites. For example, had that system been in place this year, I believe voters would have moved Oregon, which finished No. 5, ahead of Stanford for the No. 4 spot since the Ducks beat Stanford and won the Pac-12 title. But I totally agree that a better system than the current BCS model is needed to determine the matchups, because using the coaches' poll is just inviting massive conflicts of interest into the process.


Chuck D. from Mt Morris, Mich., writes: I thought it was interesting that after the Big Ten announced that they were looking into a playoff, Mike Silve seems to be backing off now. Everyone always comments that the SEC and Big 12 were interested in the playoff four years ago, but is the SEC having a change of heart with their run of BCS championships, especially this past championship game? And (possibly) giving up their home field advantage, at least in the semi-final games?

Brian Bennett: Who could blame Mike Slive? The current system has allowed his league to win six straight national titles, including this year's when two SEC teams were in the championship game. Slive should be the only guy fighting a change to the BCS system.


Topher from Denver writes: It seems that everyone has gotten so caught up with the reshuffling at Iowa that everyone has forgotten to ask a very important question. Who will be the QB coach? Ken O'Keefe has done a great job, and we have been blessed to have some great QBs. But if any of the internal candidates get the OC position it would make more sense for them to stay with their current position coaching duties rather than trying to take over QBs. So who would be the top candidate to take over QBs?

Brian Bennett: That's a good question. Kirk Ferentz addressed this a little bit on Wednesday but didn't say a whole lot. If current receivers coach Erik Campbell is promoted, then it makes sense for him to keep working with receivers as well. Then I think you could see Iowa bring in somebody from the outside to coach the quarterbacks. Or Ferentz could hire an outside person for the coordinator spot who has experience with the quarterbacks, though promoting from within seems to be his preferred method right now. Those who criticized O'Keefe should recognize what a good job he did developing quarterbacks.


Tim from Niamey, Niger, writes: I usually write Adam, but since he doesn't answer me, I thought I would give you a shot:) I have been reading alot of different articles on the fact that the Buckeyes and Wolverines are back in a big way. After a 6-7 season, even with the hiring of Meyer, isn't that putting the cart before the horse? I mean, don't the Bucks have to go win some big games before they can be declared back? After a mediocre season at best, I am waiting for all this hype to be turned into some wins.

Brian Bennett: Adam ignores all emails from Niger. It's shameful, really. Anyway, this may shock you, but we in the media have a tendency to jump the gun a little bit on stories (no, really). So I see where you're coming from. At the same time, though, Urban Meyer is a proven winner, and it's hard to deny the talent he's bringing in. Ohio State had a rough 2011 but wasn't that far away from winning most of its games, and that was with a rookie head coach, a freshman quarterback, several suspensions and all kinds of off-the-field distractions. Yes, the Buckeyes still have to prove it on the field, but there's every reason to believe that will happen, and quickly.


John from Lincoln, Neb., writes: Adam keeps saying that Nebraska needs to get more recruits from B1G country. The way I see it is that Pelini and Co. need to go after the best recruits out there, not dependent on their location. If there is a good player somewhere in B1G country and there was a slightly better player from Texas/Cali/Florida why not go after the better player? It's not like we can't get the player from outside of the B1G (Neb has recruiting ties all over). The only way I really see MORE benefit from getting players in B1G conference territory would be keeping that player away from a conference rival and having to play against him.

Brian Bennett: Well, sure, Nebraska should get the possible player, but I don't think it's that simple. The Huskers used to be able to recruit Texas so well in part because they played games in Texas and had a presence there. Leaving the Big 12 will likely hurt that. Fact is, a lot of recruits want to play either close to home or at a school that will play games in their home areas. That means a more Midwestern focus in recruiting efforts for Nebraska, which isn't blessed with a natural talent base in its own backyard.


Greyson F. from Lansing, Mich., writes: How often do you sing "I am evil Homer" when you see the statue on your desk?

Brian Bennett: About the same number of times I sing the "Itchy & Scratchy" theme song. "They fight, they bite ..."


Diamond G. from Detroit writes: What match up would you like to see in the first year of the B1G Ten vs Pac 12? for me I would like to see Stanford at Wisconsin, Ohio at Oregon, USC at MSU, Arizona at Michigan, Nebraska at Arizona State, and Cali at Iowa are my top choices, what you thing would be a out come if that played?

Brian Bennett: I had some fun with potential matchups back in December, Diamond. You can see those here. The series won't start until 2017, so predicting outcomes is impossible.


Kevin from Mt. Prospect, Ill. writes: No Kain Colter in the top 25? Huge part of the wildcats success this year especially against Nebraska and his multiple uses at QB, running back and WR.

Brian Bennett: Devising a 25-player list in a 12-team league is really hard and means that many great players will be left off. Colter did some really nice work in filling in for Dan Persa, and he might have been the most versatile player in the league. But he also had several games late in the season where he wasn't a big factor once Persa came back. Ultimately, he just missed the cut.

Patrick from Chicago writes: Brian, I enjoyed the NFL combine list. To me it's the perfect bookend to recruiting rankings. That, or graduation rates...but college football isn't about educating students. Wisconsin has 8 going, 7 from various recruiting classes + Russell Wilson. How many of those were 4-star recruits?

Brian Bennett: Using ESPN.com's recruiting rankings, only offensive tackle Josh Oglesby was a four-star prospect out of Wisconsin's eight combine invitees. He was an ESPNU150 prospect rated No. 28 overall in his class. Center Peter Konz was a three-star prospect. The rest -- fullback Bradie Ewing, cornerback Antonio Fenelus, punter Brad Nortman, receiver Nick Toon and offensive guard Kevin Zeitler, did not get ranked by ESPN.com as recruits. Toon was a four-star prospect according to Rivals, which also rated Zeitler and Nortman as three-star prospects. Ewing, Fenelus and even Wilson to some extent would all have to be considered surprises to the recruiting folks.


Tim from Lincoln, Neb., writes: Random thought while watching the Super Bowl: Jason Pierre-Paul was committed to Nebraska before he switched to South Florida...I'm drooling a little thinking about him and Ndamukong Suh destroying quarterbacks.

Brian Bennett: That would have been almost unfair. I covered JPP in his one year at South Florida and knew he had beast written all over him. He developed late because he didn't play the game early on, but what a force he is now.


Keenan from Maine writes: Because I'm bored and I don't care what my hair looks like as long as it's short enough to not pay attention to, I got a haircut to emulate Bielema. It didn't turn out perfect, I over exaggerated the peak so I look more like Tintin. I'm now curious what Bielema tells his barber how to cut his hair. A friend mentioned he was getting a haircut I suggested getting it cut like Hoke, his favorite teams coach, he said only crazy people get their hair cut like coaches or cartoon characters. Now i'm curious how each B1G coach gets their hair cut and maybe what the most common hairstyles are across the board in college.I know....I need a better hobby.

Brian Bennett: E. Gordon Gee agrees, Kevin.
My apologies for posting this a bit late, but the initial invitations list is out for the 2012 NFL scouting combine, which takes place next month in Indianapolis. This list does not include the five Big Ten juniors who have declared for the draft.

Let's check out which players made the initial list (a full list will come out later this month).

Quarterbacks
Running backs
Wide receivers
Offensive linemen
Defensive tackles
Defensive ends
Outside linebackers
Cornerbacks
Safeties
  • Trenton Robinson, Michigan State
Kickers
Punters

There are no Big Ten tight ends, inside linebackers or long snappers on the initial list.

I'm a bit surprised not to see several names, including Penn State WR Derek Moye. Still, wide receiver was a position of strength for the Big Ten in 2011, along with defensive tackle.
WilsonAP Photo/Andy ManisAfter transferring from NC State in the summer, Russell Wilson quickly became a leader at Wisconsin.
LOS ANGELES -- When Wisconsin landed in Southern California last week, the team went straight to Rose Bowl Stadium. The view was very familiar for most of the Badgers after playing in last year's game against TCU.

For Russell Wilson, however, the sight was something new. Though one of his strengths as a quarterback is his ability to keep an even keel at all times, Wilson couldn't help but muse about his interesting path to Pasadena.

"He told me, 'Coach, a year ago I was in an NC State locker room, then a professional baseball locker room and now a Rose Bowl locker room,'" head coach Bret Bielema recalled.

Around this time last year, Wilson was leading NC State to a win over West Virginia in the Champs Sports Bowl. Wisconsin wasn't even on his radar. The story from there is well known, as Wilson played minor league baseball in the offseason, was given an ultimatum by Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien and eventually used the NCAA's graduate transfer rule to wind up with the Badgers.

Now, the Richmond, Va., native ends the saga on one of college football's grandest postseason stages.

"When I grew up on the East Coast, my dad always would say, 'It would be special if you would play in the Rose Bowl,'" Wilson said. "And in the back of my mind I thought, 'Yeah, it would be awesome. But there's no chance of me playing in it.' It's amazing how things come full circle."

Wilson's greatness is all but taken for granted now. He completed 72.5 percent of his passes for 2,879 yards, with 31 touchdowns and only three interceptions this season. He has a chance to set the single-season NCAA record for passer efficiency rating with a solid game against Oregon on Monday. Wilson leads the nation with a 191.6 rating, just ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III's 189.5 mark. Hawaii's Colt Brennan held the record going into this season with a 186.0 rating in 2006.

But such success was hardly guaranteed coming into the season. Wilson didn't arrive in Madison until the summer, and there were major questions about how quickly he could learn a new system and adapt to all new teammates at a position that demands leadership.

"You're learning a foreign language, and he learned it," Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst said. "I think he understood everything when we started camp, and I think camp gave him a chance to make it become more second nature. And that only happens by working at it and being exceptionally bright to be able to grasp all that."

Wilson said he expected to understand the playbook quickly. His biggest challenge was trying to remember all the new teammates he'd met.

"I'm not very good with names," he said.

That appears to be one of his few weaknesses. Wilson set records at NC State despite having a poor supporting cast on offense. He flourished with the help of the Badgers' standout offensive line and high-powered rushing game led by Montee Ball.

Wisconsin's play-action passing game presents a nightmare for defensive coordinators as they have to respect the run but somehow not give up passing or scrambling lanes to Wilson. He might stand only about 5-foot-11, but Wilson can do just about everything athletically you'd want in a quarterback.

"He shows great poise under pressure," Oregon defensive back Eddie Pleasant said. "He makes a lot of good plays on the run when he has pressure in his face.

"I was impressed to see how short he is. Watching him on film, he flings the ball 50 yards on the run. To see him in person, wow. I can't believe he throws the ball like that."

Physical gifts are only part of Wilson's story, though.

Bielema couldn't have known what kind of leader he was getting when Wilson transferred. It spoke volumes when teammates voted him a captain in the preseason after only a few weeks with the program. Wilson justified that by helping keep things together after the heart-wrenching back-to-back losses this season to Michigan State and Ohio State. If not for the two last-minute, game-winning passes by the Spartans and Buckeyes, those games might have been remembered for how Wilson rallied the team back from deficits in the fourth quarter.

"I think Russell Wilson is best when people around him are at their worst," Bielema said. "He really does make great players play well in difficult situations."

That trait might prove invaluable on Monday. There are few more pressure-packed venues than the Rose Bowl, and it wouldn't surprise anyone if the Badgers have to fight through adversity with the way Oregon can score quickly. Wilson doesn't have a lot of postseason experience; his only other bowl game besides last year's Champs Sports was a 2008 PapaJohns.com Bowl loss to Rutgers in which he got injured early.

But he did come through in the Big Ten title game, and those around him say he embraces the spotlight moments.

"I expect nothing less than absolute poise and professionalism from him," left tackle Josh Oglesby said. "He just exudes confidence in the huddle. This is his opportunity to play on a big stage for the first time, and I think he's going to thrive off it."
LOS ANGELES -- Outside the Wisconsin locker room is a wall full of plaques honoring the school's All-Americans. Guard Kevin Zeitler walked past that every day last offseason dreaming of hanging his picture up there next to John Moffitt, who earned All-America recognition last year.

Zeitler was lightly recruited until late in his high school career and had never even made an All-Big Ten team. But after an outstanding senior season, he now has his own spot on that wall.

[+] EnlargeKevin Zeitler
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswireAll-American Kevin Zeitler was a member of an O-line that helped Wisconsin lead the Big Ten in scoring.
"We have a lot of pride in our offensive line here, and all of us want to live up to expectations," he said. "And I guess when you live up to expectations, that equals All-Americans."

Churning out offensive line talent may just be the state of Wisconsin's No. 1 industry at this point. Last year, Moffitt and tackle Gabe Carimi were named All-Americans. Both of them and guard Bill Nagy were drafted by the NFL and started as rookies. That exodus would decimate some programs. The Badgers simply reloaded with two more All-Americans in Zeitler and center Peter Konz.

The offensive line has been the program's signature position since the days of Barry Alvarez. While linemen at most schools are an anonymous bunch, the Badgers big fellas become stars, as evidenced by how many interviews the starting linemen gave at Friday's Rose Bowl media day.

"There's just something about that Wisconsin tradition," guard/center Travis Frederick said. "If you're from Wisconsin, you almost want to grow up and be a Wisconsin offensive lineman. And if you get a chance to play at Wisconsin, you take that chance."

The only thing more remarkable about the Badgers size on the line -- the starters measure an average of 6-foot-5 and 322 pounds -- is the fact that every key contributor is from the state of Wisconsin. Whether they were stud recruits like left tackle Josh Oglesby and Konz or a former walk-on like Ricky Wagner who gained 70 pounds after arriving on campus as a tight end, they all seem to develop into some of the best linemen in the country. Maybe it's all that cheese in the Dairy State. Milk apparently does a big body good.

But it's more than just the Scandinavian stock or whatever accounts for all that homegrown size. A standard has been set.

"You look back, and you see Gabe Carimi, and Joe Thomas, both Outland Trophy winners," Konz said. "You've got Chris McIntosh. You've got a lot of guys that you really have to live up to.

"You've got to live up to the strength standards, the weight standards. You've got to live up to the knowledge that they had about the game. We pride ourselves on being extremely smart, understanding blitzes, understanding formations, and really being on target so that we can be as successful as possible."

A major factor in Monday's Rose Bowl will be whether Oregon can handle that offensive line. The Ducks are bigger and better up front defensively than many people think, especially at defensive tackle with Taylor Hard (6-6, 283) and Wade Keliikipi (6-3, 300). Still, outside of Stanford and USC, Oregon isn't used to seeing lines like Wisconsin's. Because there aren't many.

Oregon's defensive players are downplaying any beef disadvantage in the trenches.

"They've got huge offensive linemen just like Stanford," said defensive end Brandon Hanna, whose Ducks have manhandled the Cardinal in recent years. "We're not too worried about that. Size doesn't bother us."

The Rose Bowl will mark the end of an era of sorts for the Wisconsin offensive line, as position coach Bob Bostad is moving on to Pittsburgh to join offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. He oversaw the development of four All-Americans since 2008. Tight ends coach Joe Rudolph will take over the group once Bostad leaves. Rudolph was an All-Big Ten guard for the Badgers.

"He's got a lot of pride in the position because he played it," Zeitler said. "To see what he's done with all the tight ends who've gone on to be All-Americans here, you know he knows how to coach. So it will be a new personality, but I believe the production will stay the same."

The names and faces may change, but Wisconsin keeps adding plaques to the wall.
When they paint the end zones at Rose Bowl Stadium, they might want to consider a second coat. Because there's a pretty good chance Oregon and Wisconsin could end up trampling lots of colored grass under their cleats.

On paper, at least, this matchup has the potential to surpass the record 80 combined points that Iowa and Washington put up in the 1991 Rose Bowl game. The Ducks average a little more than 46 points per game, while Wisconsin is just a hair under 45 points a contest. Each team has scored at least 50 points four times this season and has broken the 45-point barrier seven times.

Bowl games between a pair of high-scoring teams are nothing new, of course. What sets this one apart, though, is how radically different both styles are and how difficult each may be for the other to slow down.

[+] EnlargeWisconsin Badgers' offensive line
Jeff Hanisch/US PresswireWisconsin's big and athletic front line opened holes for Montee Ball all season.
"The great thing about this matchup is it's kind of like the direct opposites of offensive philosophy," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. "Obviously, Chip [Kelly] and Oregon like to score at a very rapid rate, and we like to hold the ball and score as often as possible for the most amount of time. It's a very unique situation, and something that we're excited about."

Boil the contrast down to the essence, and you have Oregon's warp-speed spread attack versus the Badgers' Midwestern brute force. It's not nearly that simplistic, but for the purposes of the next couple of paragraphs, let's follow that narrative.

The Ducks would like to snap the ball before the officials remove the pigskins from the equipment case, if that were possible. They try to hit you with as many plays in a short amount of time as the laws of physics allow. Oregon has 41 touchdown drives this season that have lasted two minutes or less and 13 that have taken less than a minute. Their last-place FBS ranking in time of possession is a source of pride.

Even though the Big Ten is more familiar with 21st-century offenses than casual fans believe, nothing in its league can quite prepare Wisconsin for what's coming.

"We've seen some spread offenses like Michigan that used to be like that," Badgers defensive end Patrick Butrym said. "But they didn't move nearly as fast. It's unbelievable. I've never seen anything like it."

Wisconsin doesn't have Phil Knight or flashy uniforms, and the team's main offensive strength -- its offensive line -- isn't exactly sexy. But the Badgers can be equally effective, as Kelly knows from watching some Big Ten games during pregame breakfast on the West Coast.

"It just seems like it's a pinball number sometimes when you're watching Wisconsin games," Kelly said.

And the offensive line provides the paddle. The front five is massive at an average of more than 320 pounds per man, and that doesn't include the fullback and tight ends that offensive coordinator Paul Chryst often employs to bludgeon people with the ground game. Wisconsin averages nearly seven minutes of possession per game more than Oregon and has had 11 scoring drives of five minutes or more this season.

But it's not just size that overwhelms opponents. The Badgers' big uglies are shockingly athletic, and defenses often aren't ready for that until a guard pulls and plows open a gaping hole for star running back Montee Ball. Just as teams can't adequately simulate Oregon's speed, they can't exactly find scout-teamers who can duplicate Wisconsin. Kelly said that while the Ducks have faced beefy, pro-style attacks from Stanford and USC, those Pac-12 teams don't also have a high-caliber back such as Ball.

"People know what we're going to do, but a lot of teams don't see our style of offense very often," left tackle Josh Oglesby said. "That's an advantage that allows us to really go after guys early and confuse them with some sets. We've got power and we really move. The way we do it, you don't see too often."

The offensive philosophies aren't complete opposites. If Oregon were merely a finesse team, it wouldn't be averaging a nation's best 6.5 yards per carry. LaMichael James may be a smaller back at 5-foot-9, but he's no fun to bring down. Wisconsin doesn't just plod away; with the dynamic Russell Wilson at quarterback, it has a dangerous play-action passing game that can occasionally quack like a Duck.

"When you look at our offense, it's unconventional in its own way," Wisconsin defensive coordinator Chris Ash said. "We've got some quick-strike ability with our quarterback and Montee Ball. We can score from anywhere on the field, also; it's just in a different way."

Projected high-scoring games often disappoint. Just look at last season's BCS games involving these two teams. According to statistics, the Oregon-Auburn BCS title game and the Wisconsin-TCU Rose Bowl matchup should each have been played in the 40-point range. The combined point total for both games: 81.

Something about this feels different, though, probably because the contrasting styles could give each side fits. Better apply that second coat of paint in the end zones just in case.
Wisconsin defensive end Patrick Butrym couldn't watch "SportsCenter" for about a week last January. He stayed away from any websites that covered college football.

Butrym was so upset by his team's 21-19 loss to TCU in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day that he just had to ignore any mention of it.

"I really had a difficult time coping with it for a long time," he said. "I never did really put it behind me. It still bothers me. It bothers us."

Luckily for him and the Badgers, they have a chance to do something about it on Jan. 2. Rarely does a Big Ten team reach consecutive Rose Bowls. Since 1980, only four other teams have done so -- Michigan 2004-05, Wisconsin 1999-2000, Michigan 1992-93 and Michigan 1989-90.

[+] EnlargeTank Carder
Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesLast season's Rose Bowl loss to TCU is a painful memory to the Wisconsin Badgers.
Back in Pasadena for a second straight year, this Wisconsin team vows to do things differently this time around against Oregon. It wasn't so much that the Badgers played terribly against TCU; they had a chance to tie the game in the final two minutes, but Scott Tolzien's pass on a two-point conversion try was batted down. Some players just felt as if they could have focused a little harder in bowl preparation, and maybe that would have put them over the top.

"Nobody really knew what to expect last year," safety Aaron Henry said. "A lot of us were going to L.A. for the first time, and there were a lot of distractions. It's Hollywood. We were living in Beverly Hills in an extremely nice hotel. When we got off the plane, I'm sure some guys were in shock."

Remember that even though TCU was the odd duck in last postseason's game as a non-AQ team, the Horned Frogs had played in a BCS game the year before. None of the Badgers had ever been on that stage before. The Rose Bowl is the mecca for Big Ten players, and with all the events and eye candy associated with the game -- Henry gushed this time last year about meeting actress Meagan Good -- it's easy to see how concentration can lapse.

That shouldn't be as much of an issue this year.

"Being there a second time has kind of eliminated that deer in the headlights effect," offensive tackle Josh Oglesby said. "We've seen all the lights. We've seen all the glitz and glamour that goes on with the Rose Bowl. It's more of a been there, done that mentality now. It's more of a business-trip attitude and we're not just happy to be there."

The Badgers will still try to enjoy the experience. They will do the usual events, like the Beef Bowl at Lawry's and Tuesday's arrival trip to Disneyland. Coach Bret Bielema said he'll take a group of players to a Lakers-Knicks game. Bielema is also altering the team's uniforms for this game as a reward.

Bielema said he's going to hold shorter, crisper practices in California to better hold the players' focus.

"With the second trip coming back to back, you try to change up a few things that maybe we did from a year ago, not only practice-wise but also some of the stuff we did away from the field," he said. "We're staying at a great hotel, get a lot of neat opportunities that come about just from being able to be in L.A., so you try to maximize that for the kids as well. ... But when it's time to work, I need you to work."

Bielema said running back Montee Ball is one of the team leaders, making sure that everyone maintains a business attitude. Ball, who was tackled from behind on a 40-yard gain in the game's first play last postseason, used the Rose Bowl as motivation for his offseason workouts. He lost about 20 pounds and responded with a monster season that included a Big Ten rushing title and 38 touchdowns.

A lot of Wisconsin players have stories like that. Butrym remembers turning to a teammate immediately after the TCU loss and saying, "We have to get back here next year." When the team lost back-to-back heartbreakers to Michigan State and Ohio State, the goal of getting back to the Rose Bowl helped keep spirits up.

Oregon has similar motivation after coming up short in the 2010 Rose Bowl against Ohio State and losing the national title game last postseason to Auburn. Some Wisconsin upperclassmen have experience with postseason atonement. The Badgers lost the 2008 Champs Sports Bowl to Florida State before returning to the same game to beat Miami a year later.

They hope to repeat that history in a bigger bowl. Or else they could be facing another long offseason of regret.

"Any time you're right there in reach of having success and then it slips away, it's a feeling you don't want to go through as an athlete," Henry said. "Winning this game would be the icing on the cake for us. And it's no good to eat a cake with no icing on it."
The Big Ten announced its 2011 all-conference teams and individual awards Monday night. The winners for Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year and Coach of the Year will be announced Wednesday.

Here are the All-Big Ten teams ...

First-team offense thoughts: I'm a bit surprised Wisconsin running back Montee Ball is the only unanimous selection with the media and coaches. Both groups got the running backs and wide receivers right. It seems like the offensive tackle spot is a bit weak this season, but Reilly Reiff and Josh Oglesby are good players. Tough call at center between Wisconsin's Peter Konz and Michigan's David Molk, and I'm not surprised to see a split there.

First-team defense thoughts: The first-team defensive line selections are solid. I would have gone with Ohio State's John Simon ahead of Purdue's Kawann Short for the fourth spot, but both men had outstanding seasons. There's also a tough call at linebacker. Nebraska's Lavonte David has to be a first-team selection. So should Wisconsin's Mike Taylor. I would go with Penn State's Gerald Hodges over Wisconsin's Chris Borland, although Borland had a very good season.

There were some curious choices at defensive back. Michigan State cornerback Johnny Adams absolutely should be on both lists but was placed on the second team by the media. I'm very surprised the coaches didn't include Michigan State safety Trenton Robinson on the first or second team. Nebraska's Brett Maher is a consensus first-team selection as both a kicker and a punter.

Second-team offense thoughts: The coaches and media split on quarterback, as the coaches went with Michigan State's Kirk Cousins and the media picked Michigan's Denard Robinson. It's a tough call, but I would have gone with Cousins. I don't see how Wisconsin tight end Jacob Pedersen misses the coaches' second team. Same goes for Northwestern wide receiver Jeremy Ebert. Ohio State left tackle Mike Adams made the coaches' team despite missing the first five games because of a suspension.

Second-team defense thoughts: The media made a good call with Illinois linebacker Jonathan Brown. I'm glad to see defensive tackle Mike Martin and defensive ends William Gholston and Michael Buchanan make both teams. Both Purdue specialists -- kicker Carson Wiggs and punter Cody Webster -- made the coaches' list, while the media went with Penn State's Anthony Fera, who had a nice season, and Webster.

Here are the honorable mention selections:

COACHES

ILLINOIS: Jeff Allen, Jonathan Brown, Derek Dimke, Terry Hawthorne, Ian Thomas; INDIANA: Mitch Ewald, Jeff Thomas; IOWA: Broderick Binns, James Ferentz, Eric Guthrie, Micah Hyde, James Morris, Markus Zusevics; MICHIGAN: Kenny Demens, J.T. Floyd, Kevin Koger, Junior Hemingway, Denard Robinson, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Ryan Van Bergen; MICHIGAN STATE: Denicos Allen, Le’Veon Bell, Keshawn Martin, Trenton Robinson, Marcus Rush; MINNESOTA: Kim Royston; NEBRASKA: Will Compton, Ben Cotton, Spencer Long, Marcel Jones, Baker Steinkuhler; NORTHWESTERN: Jeremy Ebert, Jordan Mabin, Brian Mulroe, Al Netter, Dan Persa, Brian Peters; OHIO STATE: Johnathan Hankins, Dan Herron, Jack Mewhort, Jake Stoneburner; PENN STATE: Drew Astorino, Anthony Fera, Jordan Hill, D’Anton Lynn, Derek Moye, Chima Okoli, Chaz Powell, Johnnie Troutman; PURDUE: Dennis Kelly, Joe Holland; WISCONSIN: Jared Abbrederis, Patrick Butrym, Antonio Fenelus, Peter Konz, Brad Nortman, Jacob Pederson, Ricky Wagner.

MEDIA

ILLINOIS: Derek Dimke, Terry Hawthorne, Tavon Wilson; INDIANA: Mitch Ewald; IOWA: Mike Daniels, James Ferentz, Adam Gettis, Eric Guthrie, James Morris, Tyler Nielsen, Shaun Prater, Markus Zusevics; MICHIGAN: Kenny Demens, J.T. Floyd, Kevin Koger, Jordan Kovacs, Taylor Lewan, Craig Roh, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Ryan Van Bergen; MICHIGAN STATE: Le’Veon Bell, Max Bullough, Dan Conroy, Kirk Cousins, Darqueze Dennard, Brian Linthicum, Chris McDonald, Chris Norman, Kevin Pickelman, Marcus Rush; MINNESOTA: Chris Bunders, Kim Royston; NEBRASKA: Mike Caputo, Austin Cassidy, Will Compton, Ben Cotton, Marcel Jones, Cameron Meredith, Daimion Stafford, Baker Steinkuhler; NORTHWESTERN: Kain Colter, Jordan Mabin, Brian Mulroe, Al Netter, Dan Persa; OHIO STATE: C.J. Barnett, Mike Brewster, Johnathan Hankins, Jack Mewhort, Tyler Moeller, Andrew Norwell, Jake Stoneburner, Andrew Sweat; PENN STATE: Drew Astorino, Quinn Barham, Jack Crawford, Anthony Fera, Jordan Hill, D’Anton Lynn, Chima Okoli, Chaz Powell, Nate Stupar, Johnnie Troutman; PURDUE: Ricardo Allen, Dwayne Beckford, Joe Holland, Dennis Kelly, Carson Wiggs; WISCONSIN: Jared Abbrederis, Patrick Butrym, Aaron Henry, Brad Nortman, Nick Toon, Ricky Wagner, Philip Welch.

Finally, here are the individual award winners ...

Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin

Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year: Marvin McNutt, Iowa

Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year: Montee Ball, Wisconsin

Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year: Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern

Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year: David Molk, Michigan

Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year: Devon Still, Penn State

Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year: Lavonte David, Nebraska

Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year: Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska

Bakken-Andersen Kicker of the Year: Brett Maher, Nebraska

Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year: Brett Maher, Nebraska

Big Ten lunchtime links

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
12:00
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Let's party like it's 1982.

Big Ten lunch links

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
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There are very few parenting issues where I come out on top. I'm distant, I work too much, my French braiding is sloppy. Finally something that's not my fault!

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