Predicting Big Ten Football Honors

BTN will present the exclusive, live announcement of several Big Ten football awards during the All-Conference Selection Special at 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday. For the fifth straight year, Dave Revsine will host the show, alongside analysts Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith. Select award winners will be interviewed during the 60-minute program. Read the full release on our show.

See web editor Brent Yarina’s predictions for superlative winners and All-Big Ten First Team in this post. Also, as for the Big Ten’s new trophies, check out senior writer Tom Dienhart’s Trophy Tracker.

Offensive Player of the Year: Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin – Teammate Russell Wilson is just as worthy, but Ball’s season is historic and something we may never see again — unless Ball returns for his senior season. Basically, when your name is in the same sentence as Barry Sanders, you’ve had a special season. And, to be honest, special doesn’t even come close to describing Ball’s 1,870-yard, 34-touchdown season.
Runner-up: Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin

Defensive Player of the Year: Lavonte David, Nebraska – The Big Ten was loaded with stud defensive players, from David to Devon Still to Whitney Mercilus, among others. But when it comes to production, big plays and importance to his team, it’s tough to argue there was anybody better than David, Nebraska’s tackling machine. The senior posted 122 tackles, including 11 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Runner-up: Devon Still, Penn State & Whitney Mercilus, Illinois

Freshman of the Year: Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State – Miller was the frontrunner for this award for the past several weeks, but he wrapped it up with his career performance in Saturday’s defeat at Michigan. The true freshman quarterback threw for career highs in completions (14) and yards (235) and matched a career-high in passing touchdowns (2), all while setting a career-high in total yards (335). He’s the real deal.
Runner-up: Marcus Rush, DE, Michigan State

Coach of the Year: Brady Hoke, Michigan – In three seasons under Rich Rodriguez, the Wolverines won six Big Ten games; in eight games under Hoke, they matched that total. Hoke engineered Michigan’s quick turnaround on his way to helping the Wolverines win 10 games, the first time they’ve posted double-digit victories since 2006. On top of all that, Michigan snapped a seven-game losing streak against archrival Ohio State on Saturday, and few take that game more seriously than Hoke.
Runner-up: Mark Dantonio, Michigan State


QB: Russell Wilson, Wisconsin
RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin
RB: Marcus Coker, Iowa
WR: Marvin McNutt, Iowa
WR: Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern
WR: B.J. Cunningham, Michigan State *
C: Mike Caputo, Nebraska
G: Kevin Zeitler, Wisconsin
G: Joel Foreman, Michigan State
T: Mike Adams, Ohio State
T: Josh Oglesby, Wisconsin
TE: Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin
K: Brett Maher, Nebraska
* — Cunningham and Ebert tie, giving team three WRs

DL: Devon Still, Penn State
DL: Whitney Mercilus, Illinois
DL: John Simon, Ohio State
DL: Kawann Short, Purdue
LB: Lavonte David, Nebraska
LB: Jonathan Brown, Illinois
LB: Chris Borland, Wisconsin
DB: Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska
DB: Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State
DB: Micah Hyde, Iowa
DB: Ricardo Allen, Purdue
P: Brett Maher, Nebraska

Brent Yarina is a web editor and blogger for Find all of his work here and follow him on twitter at @BTNBrentYarina.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (25 Comments)
Deb Mielke on 11/27/2011 @ 4:28pm EDT Said:

So Michigan has 10 wins and not one guy makes 1st team offense or defense? PLEASE!

    Brent Yarina, on 11/27/2011 @ 4:30pm EDT Said:

    Fair point. But who are going to put on there? I ask seriously.

Mike on 11/27/2011 @ 4:30pm EDT Said:

A 10 win Michigan team has no 1st team guys? Damn, Hoke should win the national coach of the year if that’s the case.

Molk, Martin and Kovacs should all be 1st teamers.

    Brent Yarina, on 11/27/2011 @ 4:40pm EDT Said:

    All great players and worthy of honor. Caputo over Molk because he anchored a brand new line, Martin misses out due to absolutely dominating years by other DL, and Kovacs could be in there for, say, Hyde.

Jason on 11/27/2011 @ 4:45pm EDT Said:

Brent- Think you’re right with no Michigan players on first team. I think Molk and Kovacs should receive consideration, but most likely second team selections. This makes the 10-2 season even more incredible…the team..the team…the team! Go Blue.

Steve from Royal Oak, MI on 11/27/2011 @ 4:45pm EDT Said:

Team, the Team, the Team. (and I’m a Purdue grad) A little trite but I would rather have a 10-2 record & no 1st teamers than a 6-6 record and 2 first teamers.

kurt on 11/27/2011 @ 5:14pm EDT Said:

Let me see, 10 – 2…check, Second in their divison…check…. Coach of the year….check. No one on the first team….STUPID!

Mike Martin is a First Team Big 10 Player!

Ric on 11/27/2011 @ 5:24pm EDT Said:

I agree with Deb and Mike. At least Mike Martin needs to be a first teamer. He dominated the line of scrimmage, created sacks and hurries, took on 2 and 3 blockers, and freed things up for the other defenders, en route to leading Michigan to a 10-2 season and a probable BCS bowl. And I know it’s hard to qualify what Denard Robinson is, but he passed for 2,056 yards, ran for 1,163 yards, and had 34 total touchdowns. He at least deserves some consideration somewhere.

bob jones on 11/27/2011 @ 6:12pm EDT Said:

Close between Coker and Rex Burkhead. Burkhead was an absolute workhorse who carried the Husker offense all year and picked up all the tough yards and 3rd down conversions while playing hurt the last several games. One tough son of a gun. Also, Martin of Michigan was maybe the best DL we saw all year and you could put in a spot for an all purpose player that Colter of Northwestern would fill, that guy can do it all, a really special, do it all type of ballplayer.

    Brent Yarina, on 11/27/2011 @ 6:18pm EDT Said:

    Agree on Burkhead and Colter. Burkhead and Coker have very similar numbers and one of the guys will draw the short end of the stick. I love Colter, and I hope the voters find a way to reward him for his great versatility.

Dave on 11/27/2011 @ 6:19pm EDT Said:

I can understand Coker has more yards, but Burkhead has been a beast and deserves a spot. Hopefully next year!

John on 11/27/2011 @ 6:55pm EDT Said:

I know he isn’t as big of a name as Burkhead or Coker, but what Tousaint did at Michigan with the amount of carries he had was down right incredible.

Bob on 11/27/2011 @ 7:17pm EDT Said:

That must make Pat Narduzzi the assistant coach of the year – that defense with only one first teamer! Did you watch Micah Hyde against Michigan State?

blg on 11/27/2011 @ 9:10pm EDT Said:

mike martin deserves no honors at all, didn’t you M fans see him quit the last two years vs MSU after being physically dominated? high quality players don’t give up, he was on the ground sucking his thumb by the 3rd quarter both years

Brian on 11/27/2011 @ 9:31pm EDT Said:

All the Michigan fans are coming out of the woodwork…as for Denard Robinson….he is at BEST the 3rd best QB in the big ten this year. Somewhere behind Cousins and Russel Wilson. He does make some big plays but alot of them are for the other team. (See the pick 6 to ice the MSU-UM game)

E Shazz on 11/28/2011 @ 2:16am EDT Said:

Yeeeeah! No scUM on either 1st or 2nd team! SpartyNation has dominated you for 4 years, and it’s not stopping anytime soon!!! Denard Robinson wouldn’t even split carries with Cousins. Cousins will play on Sunday. Denard wont even be drafted. Go green, go white!!!

APG on 11/28/2011 @ 5:14am EDT Said:

Hey blg, you might remember being cheap shotted with one of the dirtiest chop blocks I’ve ever seen mid way through 2010 MSU game. Missed large chunks of the rest of the season due to a severe high ankle sprain. Of course, you wouldn’t see that through your green tinted glasses, because MSU is the cleanest team in the conference.

Josh on 11/28/2011 @ 7:15am EDT Said:

Where is David Molk? This is list is nothing without Molk on it.

@Brian, nobody is complaining about Denard not being on the list. Michigan fans understand that Denard did not have as great of a season compared to the 2010-11 season. We just are shocked to see neither of Molk, Martin, or Kovaks on the list.

@Brent, your reason for Caputo over Molk makes zero sense, especially when you look at their performances from a pure statistical point of view (sacks given up and pancakes). It doesn’t matter if Caputo was anchoring a new line. Molk had the better year statistically.

Larry Harrison on 11/28/2011 @ 8:24am EDT Said:

Mike Martin is at best the #5 DT in the conference. Still and Worthy are no brainers as better than him, same for Crick when healthy. Kawan Short has outplayed him as well. Martin is a solid player, he just has a nasty habit of quitting when his team is down. He literally quit because Joel Foreman physically forced his submission.

Michigan Fan on 11/28/2011 @ 10:56am EDT Said:

I’m okay with no UM player being on the 1st team. I’m happy with 10-2 after the previous 3 horrible seasons. Individual awards don’t mean much. Mike Martin and David Molk should get serious consideration but might end up on the 2nd team. Anyway, Go Blue!

milanuk on 11/28/2011 @ 11:51am EDT Said:

Ok, i understand marcus coker was a pretty decent back but you have to realize nebraska would be 5-7 if it weren’t for mr rex burkhead. I mean that guy is a straight up workhorse.

BLIZ on 11/28/2011 @ 11:51am EDT Said:

its sad when the msu fan’s only concerns are about Michigan, geez get a life.

rondus on 11/28/2011 @ 1:15pm EDT Said:

Spartans. Even when they’re good, they’re boring. Which is why the Sugar Bowl will take Michigan after State loses to Wisconsin (a foregone conclusion in their own minds). All of this leads to a gigantic inferiority complex that manifests in head explosions, dirty play, and torched couches.

James S. on 11/28/2011 @ 4:13pm EDT Said:

Regarding the running backs and assuming Monte Ball is first team Big 10, I have GOT to go with Burkhead on this one because:


Michigan State 130 57 DNP

Wisconsin 98 DNP 66

Penn State 121 74 DNP


Burkhead 160 Coker 87

Burkhead 121 Redd 53

*Redd yards against top tier teams played:
Alabama 65
Nebraska 53
Ohio State 63
Wisconsin 66

In meaningful terms, Redd had 800 of his 1188 yards against .500 or below teams.

*Coker against top tier teams played
Penn State 74
Michigan 132
Michigan State 57
Nebraska 87

In meaningful terms, Coker had 995 of his 1380 yards against .500 or below teams.

*Burkhead against top tier teams played
Wisconsin 98
Michigan 36 (hurt)
Michigan State 130
Penn State 121
Ohio State 120
Iowa 160
Washington 120

*In meaningful terms, Burkhead had 400 of his 1268 yards against .500 or below teams.

Basically 70% of Coker and Redd’s rushing yardage came against .500 or below teams, while Burkhead had approximately 70% of his rushing yardage against winning teams.

I love all the running backs in the Big 10, but sorry, competition has to factor into this thing and what you do in big meaningful games. Plus, I believe Burkhead was second in the Big 10 in scoring and showed the football warrior mentality by playing with injury.

bob jones on 11/28/2011 @ 6:44pm EDT Said:

Nice stats James S., it looks like Burkhead all the way. Rex is one great football player, one great leader and one great person.