Monday, November 23, 2009

All-conference Badgers

The Big Ten will reveal its all-conference football teams tonight, and Wisconsin should be better-represented than last year, when Allen Langford and Garrett Graham were the only two all-league Badgers. Here's how I see our potential selections breaking down.

First team
John Clay -- No brainer, leads the conference in rushing and touchdowns. Should be offensive player of the year. (Aside: it's sort of hilarious that Terrelle Pryor and Juice Williams were the odds-on picks for offensive player of the year in the preseason, isn't it?)

Gabe Carimi -- Best lineman on the league's highest-scoring offense.

Garrett Graham -- Easily the best receiving tight end in the conference, also an asset in the run game.

O'Brien Schofield -- Started really hot, and though he didn't maintain his breakneck pace as the competition stiffened, he set the tone early for a defense which exceeded expectations this year. Part of me fears that he may get lost in the shuffle of all the Big Ten's excellent defensive linemen -- Brandon Graham, Ryan Kerrigan, Adrian Clayborn, Ohio State's guys -- but OB should be one of the top four.

Honorable mention
Scott Tolzien -- Had a really nice season. Other quarterbacks may have better numbers and may be more dynamic, but I'm happy with our guy.

Nick Toon -- If he played in an offense that passed more, or on a team that was behind more, his numbers would be much better and he'd be a first teamer.

Chris Maragos -- Had four interceptions and played really well, but there were at least four better defensive backs in the league this year.

J.J. Watt -- Nice debut. With Schofield gone next year expect him to elevate his game.

Chris Borland -- Can you choose a special teams player who isn't a returner or kicker? If they have a plcae for someone like this, Borland makes it. Second in the league in forced fumbles and tied for first in fumbles recovered despite only starting a handful of games. A playmaker.

John Moffitt -- A second guy from the line that led the league's top rushing attack ought to earn some sort of all-conference honors. But who? Moffitt? Josh Oglesby? Peter Konz? Kevin Zeitler? I probably picked Moffitt because he's so gregarious, but despite some rocky moments he has opened plenty of holes on the left side and pulling right.

Hopefully I forgot a guy or two, and of these second-tier guys get bumped up, but either way there have been plenty of individual performances to be happy with this year.

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