I've been a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) for two years now. One of the things about it - I get to nominate players for the All-American team. After the jump are my nominations for offense. Unfortunately, I missed the defense because the FWAA email filtered to my junk mail folder. Technology. Bah!
I can nominate players nationally or regionally, and I'm preferring to go with regionally because at least I've seen all the Big 12 players. I'd like some help, though, some discussion about it, because otherwise it'd be a popularity contest, wouldn't it?
Blaine Gabbert - damned fine quarterback, but I don't think he gets my vote. Right now, I have to go with Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State. He's first in the nation at 339.1 yards per game, and played well enough that Oklahoma State looks like they're the team that will represent the Big 12 South in the last Big 12 Championship game.
I think you could make a strong case for Robert Griffin III, but when you look at Weeden, you're looking at a guy who's a first-year starter. Granted, Weeden is surrounded by more talent than Griffin, but Weeden is certainly taking advantage, too.
I doubt Weeden will get much traction on the national stage because he wasn't a strong pre-season guy, and let's face it - there are probably a lot of people who are looking through Phil Steele's magazine when they vote on this.
This is really hard because a Nebraska guy is one of the top players in this category. Roy Helu having a 300+ yard day against Missouri was one of the special points of the season in the Big 12.
But if you look at a player that makes his team go, I'm hard pressed to not go with Kendall Hunter. Hunter has been amazing at Oklahoma State, already gaining 1,356 yards and scored 16 rushing TDs so far this season. Hunter should get some national recognition and will be another guy who makes millions in the NFL.
I get to vote for two running backs, so Helu is a consideration, but you could make the case for Kansas State's Daniel Thomas. Thomas has been the Kansas State offense while Helu has been great, but not the guy that Nebraska has chosen to run the Wildcat, or to gain yardage when someone needed to run straight ahead. Maybe I'm unfair to Helu because I know him better?
The first choice in this list is obvious - Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon. The guy is a beast. Despite missing a game because of utter stupidity, he's still over 180 yards ahead of his nearest competitor for the most yardage as a receiver this season. He leads in TD receptions (again, missing one game) and against Nebraska he made Prince Amukamara look foolish at times and it isn't because Amukamara sucks, it's because Blackmon is that good. Blackmon should make millions on Sunday, given that he's learned a lesson from his suspension and doesn't continue to be an idiot because someone threw money at him.
Second choice goes to Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles. Broyles already has 94 receptions this season, with 1,196 yards and 11 TDs. The thing with Broyles - if Oklahoma's offense seems to be stuck, he's the guy they go with. Just throw the ball at him, have him make a play.
Could Niles Paul be here? No, due to inconsistency and an offense that relies on the run. I wouldn't trade our wide receivers for anyone else's, but Nebraska hasn't anything to offer here.
Your impressions or suggestions on this category would be welcome.
Offensive linemen tend to be chosen on the basis of longevity. Maybe that makes sense, because it's the guys who can continually take the pounding and still do the work every game that count. Guys like Nate Solder of Colorado will make the cut here. Some fool will no doubt suggest Kyle Hix of Texas, but I think if you look at how poorly Texas has performed across the board you have to remove Hix from consideration.
Arguably Nebraska's best offensive lineman is right guard Ricky Henry. Unfortunately, Henry makes enough mistakes that he's not good enough for consideration here. Keith Williams might be worth it because he's just a warrior. I'm not sure if Williams is better than Henry, but he's certainly smarter, and you have to give it up for a guy who's beat up as he is and keeps going.
I need five here. Colorado tackle Nate Solder is one. Ben Lamaak, center, from Iowa State, is another, but does that rule out Tim Barnes, center, from Missouri? No. Nebraska's Keith Williams can be another.
Kicker goes to Alex Henery. He could use a lifetime achievement award. I need a special teams player as well, but I'm not sure about my selection. Nebraska leads the Big 12 conference in punt returns, and is second in kick returns, largely due to Niles Paul, but Paul's gaffs are enough for me to drop him from consideration.
Kansas State's William Powell leads the nation in kick return average, with one touchdown return this season. Is that enough????