Let the arguments begin!
The 2012 All-Big Ten football teams came out Monday night, and the results were some good, some bad for the Ohio State football team.
Two Buckeyes – quarterback Braxton Miller and defensive lineman Johnny Simon – were named the league’s top players at their respective positions, and seven Buckeyes were chosen as first-team All-Big Ten players in at least one of the votes.
But only two – Simon and cornerback Bradley Roby – were consensus choices on both the media first team and the coaches' first team, and fans have already begun to feel slighted by some of the choices.
Whether Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer feels that way remains to be seen, but he said in a release Monday evening that he was proud of the players who were honored.
“I am happy for all of the members of this team who are being honored, and also for their teammates, whose hard work helped these guys earn this Big Ten recognition,” Meyer said. “It is a tribute to the work ethic of both John Simon and Braxton Miller, coupled with the fact that they are both excellent football players, that they were named players of the year at their positions.”
Ohio State’s biggest star, Miller becomes the first Buckeye to win the Big Ten’s Quarterback of the Year award since it was named for Bob Griese (Purdue) and Drew Brees (Purdue). Miller finished second in the league in total offense, third in passing efficiency and fifth in rushing yards per game while leading the Buckeyes to a league-high 37.2 points per game.
On the other side of the ball, Simon was chosen as the winner of the Defensive Lineman of the Year honor named after MSU legend Bubba Smith and Penn State’s Courtney Brown. Simon led the Big Ten with nine sacks, a total of .82 per game, despite missing the Michigan game.
He was joined as a consensus first-team All-Big Ten pick by Roby, who finished the regular season second in the nation with 19 passes defended this year. He picked off two passes and broke up 17 others, tying for a school record, while scoring three touchdowns this season and making 63 tackles.
“Being named All-Big Ten just shows that hard work really does pay off,” Roby said. “I think I was having a pretty good year, but I am most happy that we won all of our games. That’s what makes you feel really good.”
From there, the Big Ten coaches and media were split, nowhere more noticeable than when it came to the choice for the best quarterback in the league. While the media went with Miller, the coaches picked Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez, the league leader in total offense, while putting the Buckeye on the second team.
Miller, a Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award finalist and one of the Walter Camp Award’s 15 “players to watch,” threw for 2,039 yards and 15 TDs while completing nearly 60 percent (148-254) of his passes. On the ground, he led the Buckeyes with 1,271 rushing yards and 13 TDs and recorded six 100-yard rushing games, including a school QB record 186 in the win over Nebraska.
In the process, Miller became just the third different QB in Big Ten history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season. He topped Bobby Hoying’s school record with 3,310 yards of total offense.
Though no OSU offensive players were on the coaches’ first team, Hankins was tabbed by the league mentors. The athletic defensive tackle recorded 55 tackles, four TFL and a sack. He recorded a pair of 10-tackle games vs. California and UAB and had eight tackles in the overtime win over Purdue. Hankins was a second-team choice by the media.
The media team was kinder to Ohio State when it came to the first team, as Braxton Miller was joined by junior left guard Andrew Norwell on the top squad. Norwell helped the Buckeyes rush for 252.3 yards per game, good for second in the league and 10th in the nation.
On the defensive side, Simon and Roby were joined by linebacker Ryan Shazier and cornerback Travis Howard. Shazier – who many feel was snubbed from the coaches’ top squad as well as for the top LB award that went to Penn State’s Michael Mauti – led the Big Ten with 17 tackles for loss while finishing second with 115 total tackles. He also had five sacks and became one of the most impactful linebackers in the league near the end of the season, making a huge pick-six at Penn State and forcing a goal-line fumble at Penn State. He was a second-team choice by the coaches.
Howard tied for the Big Ten lead with four interceptions and made 40 tackles while becoming one of Meyer’s favorite players.
Carlos Hyde was a second-team All-Big Ten choice on both the coaches and media teams after finishing with atop the league with 16 touchdowns, 14 in Big Ten play. Hyde ended the season with 970 yards, including 100-yard games vs. Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.
The coaches also put wideout Corey Brown and safety Christian Bryant on their second teams, while the media tabbed left tackle Jack Mewhort as a second-team pick.
Senior fullback-turned-linebacker Zach Boren was the OSU choice for the Big Ten’s sportsmanship award.
The league's offensive and defensive player of the year awards as well as coach of the year will come out tomorrow.