With the 2013 college football season a little more than two weeks away, I thought it was a good time to consider preseason favorites for all of the Big Ten end-of-the-season awards. From the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year to the Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year, I offer my picks. Also, cast your winners in this post.
Preseason analysis: The three names may finish the season in a different order, but these are the Big Ten’s best signal-callers. There’s a significant drop from No. 3 to No. 4, and after Colter, there aren’t many proven options.
Preseason analysis: This should be a great race all season, as back-to-back Big Ten Running Back of the Year and NCAA TD record-holder Montee Ball is in the NFL. For now, the diminutive and speedy Mark takes the top spot.
Preseason analysis: Will there be another Robinson this year? Remember, the Nittany Lion receiver was on no one’s radar this time a year ago, what with three catches to his name. Even if there is, it will be tough to overtake these guys.
Preseason analysis: Tight end is a loaded position this season – so much so that it’s tough to rank the Big Ten’s top 3. No matter what direction you go, you’re leaving a worthy star off the list.
Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year
1. Taylor Lewan, Michigan
2. Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern
3. Spencer Long, Nebraska
Next: Jack Mewhort, Ohio State
Dark horse: Jason Spriggs, Indiana
Preseason analysis: Here’s all you need to know about this race: Budzien missed one kick last season (19 of 20 FGs; 50-50 XPs). Not bad for a guy who kicks for a team that plays its home games on a grass field and in windy conditions.
Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year
1. Tyler Scott, Northwestern
2. Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota
3. Deion Barnes, Penn State
Next: Marcus Rush, Michigan State
Dark horse: Adolphus Washington, Ohio State
Preseason analysis: The Big Ten lost a lot of talent on the defensive front, including 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year John Simon. That said, Scott’s numbers were eerily similar to Simon’s last year, so he opens the season on top.
Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year
1. Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
2. Chris Borland, Wisconsin
3. Max Bullough, Michigan State
Next: Anthony Hitchens, Iowa
Dark horse: Ethan Armstrong, Wisconsin
Preseason analysis: Much like the analysis for “quarterback” above, there’s not much argument about the top three names. Some will argue the order, but these are the best all-around, playmaking linebackers.
Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year
1. Bradley Roby, Ohio State
2. Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State
3. Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State
Next: Ricardo Allen, Purdue
Dark horse: Blake Countess, Michigan
Preseason analysis: We’re still waiting to hear word on Roby’s possible punishment for an incident last month in Bloomington, Ind. Even if he misses a few games, he still has time – not to mention the skills – to warrant the top spot.
Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year
1. Mike Sadler, Michigan State
2. Cody Webster, Purdue
3. Justin DuVernois, Illinois
Next: Drew Meyer, Wisconsin
Dark horse: Alex Butterworth, Penn State
Preseason analysis: Michigan’s Will Hagerup is the reigning winner of the award, however he will be sitting out the season due to disciplinary reasons. Sadler was a first-teamer last year (Coaches), so he deserves to be at the top of this list.