Well, as seemed my destiny all year long I of course finished the Big XII slate as mediocre as one can be, going 24-24 ATS and 38-10 TGS by going 3-2 and 5-0 this week. A disappointing year, though there's a glimmer of hope at the end. With 7 Big XII teams heading to bowls across the country, I'll be forced to end the year strayed from my .500 mark, unless of course I intend to make a pick on the CCG which I'm still undecided on given the circumstances surrounding its participants. What I want to do today is attempt to make my all-league selections before the media comes out with theirs and makes Ian Campbell a first team selection because he racked up some sacks his sophomore year.
First Team Offense
QB – Colt McCoy (Texas). Though Bradford has been great, this one seems pretty clear to me. Bradford sits in the pocket and hits open receivers in stride seemingly throughout the entire game. Obviously this isn't easy and he should be praised for it, but Colt does more with less, keeps plays going with his legs and (though this is discounted by some) he beat Bradford in a head-to-head game. For the stat crazed he's thrown for 3,445 yards (5th), completed 78% of his passes (holy schnikees), thrown for 32 TDs against 7 INTs and run for an additional 576 yards and 10 TDs.
RB – Kendall Hunter (OSU). Again, this one is pretty cut and dry. He's the leading rusher by over 500 yards (1,518) and was as big a part of the Cowboys impressive season as anyone.
WR – Dez Bryant (OSU). I want to punish him for not coming to play in road game, but he's the leading receiver (1,313) by over 100 yards and tied with Crabtree for TDs (18) which is 6 more than anyone else. Plus he had two punt return TDs, which let him lead the league in scoring.
WR – Michael Crabtree (Tech). Led the league in receptions (93) and tied for TDs (18) while being fourth in yards (1,135). That last second play against Texas didn't hurt him any either.
WR – Dezmon Briscoe (Kansas). He is second in receiving yards (1,206), tied for third in TDs (12) behind Crabtree & Bryant, and notched 78 receptions for 15.5 yards per catch. Even more than that, he came to play against the best with a combined 44 catches for 730 yards and 5 TDs against OU, Tech, NU, Texas and MU for an average game of 9/146/1 against the five best teams we played.
WR – Jeremy Maclin (MU). I'm sure no one else will discount the TE, but I chose to do so. Gresham would probably be the choice there, but with 50 catches and 12 TDs (and no real blocking ability) he's really a receiver anyway. And by receiver standards, Maclin blows him away. Add in that most teams in this league go 4-wide most of the time and I think this makes sense at any rate. As for his stats, he had 88 catches (2nd) for 1,175 yards (3rd) and 11 TDs (t-5th). He also had two rushing TDs and returned a kickoff.
I want to preface my line selections by saying that I'm not necessarily selecting the best five offensive linemen, but rather who I found to be the best at each particular position. I welcome any disagreements (with reasoning), because I think it's pretty tough to evaluate an o-line properly without seeing every game (which I obviously did not).
LT – Russell Okung (OSU). Scouts/GMs that watched how he played Orakpo should be ready to give him a pretty hefty paycheck. Add in that he blocked for the leading rusher in the league and I think he's deserving.
LG – Duke Robinson (OU). Downfield blocking is not his strength, but that's about the only issue I've seen with him. Pass blocking is clearly his forte, but the holes the OU running backs have had the last two weeks were obscene.
C – Jon Cooper (OU). I'd just say ditto Robinson, but that wouldn't be doing him justice as he's far and away the best center in the league from what I've seen. Good feet, great hands (you're not going to start for OU if you can't grab a hold of someone) and an even better sense what he and the rest of his line are trying to accomplish with each play. Is great on his own, but even better in combo blocks with his guards (no easy task).
RG – Cedric Dockery (Texas). I'm a little hesitant to place any of Texas' o-line here after the way they were dominated by Tech and with how little running room they typically provided – though I'd blame the latter on the unbelievably limited playbook selection of: zone read & QB draw. With all that said, Dockery is extremely mobile for his size and can pull as well as anyone in the league, while also holding his ground in pass protection on most occasions.
RT – Marlon Winn (Tech). Rylan Reed garnered a little more attention, as left tackles tend to do. But Tech's strong side was on the right behind Winn and Carter (that silly guy with all the makeup). A true monster (6'6", 325), Winn excels in pass protection and really developed as a great run blocker as well, which played as big a part in Tech's improvement as anything.
Second Team Offense
QB – Sam Bradford (OU). As mentioned above, he deserves plenty of attention for first team honors and he's the clear choice for second team despite throwing for 700 less yards (in 175 less attempts) and having a lower completion percentage than Graham Harrell. Stats with two games to play: 4,080 yards on 68% completion, 46 TDs and 6 INTs. That's absurd, especially on a team whose two leading rushers combine for 1,990 yards and 31 TDs on the ground.
RB – DeMarco Murray (OU). On paper there's not a good reason that he's here instead of teammate Chris Brown, so I'll just highlight them both. Their yards (1,002 & 988), ypc (5.6 & 5.9) and touchdowns (14 & 17) are nearly identical with Brown slightly leading the last two and Murray with the slight edge in yards. It's no wonder that offense has scored 60+ four straight times.
WR – Jordan Shipley (Texas). I'm still not sure how I left him off my first team and it really speaks to the guys in this conference that I was able to. Great as he's been, the numbers just didn't quite support it with 79 catches (t-4th), 982 yards (6th) and 11 TDs (t-5th). He also had both a kick and punt return at huge times in big games.
WR – Quan Cosby (Texas). Frankly, I was a little surprised when I checked his final stats. He's been great all year, but I expected him to be a second teamer. Turns out, his stats are nearly identical to Shipley's with 78 catches for 952 yards and 8 scores. It's just crazy that those numbers won't really even merit first team consideration.
TE – Jermaine Gresham (OU). He'll likely be a first-team guy here, but since he's out their as a pass catcher, that's how I'm rating him. And to be honest, I'm probably overrating him a tad as 50 catches for 806 yards doesn't really stand out in this league. The 12 TDs (tied for 3rd) helps quite a bit though.
TE – Chase Coffman (MU). Again, he's listed as a TE, which is fine, but when you’re lined up wide more often than you're blocking, you are a receiver in my book. Injuries slowed him a bit, but among a slew of fantastic plays he had 79 grabs for 872 yards and 9 scores.
Apologies to: Kerry Meier (87-932-7), Brandon Banks (67-1049-9), Juaquin Iglesias (60-967-8) & Nate Swift (60-909-9). In any other league, you're all probably up for first team recognition.
And that's where I'll stop. I had enough trouble coming up with my first team line to try and discern a second team. It's no wonder the lazy media just scribble down the 5 names they've heard the most. As always, any disagreements, additions, subtractions, random shout outs, etc. are welcomed.