Predicting Big Ten Football Honors
See BTN.com 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 BTN.com 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