Did the Big Ten's Coaches Snub the Buckeyes?
By Tony Gerdeman
By now you have seen and read about the Big Ten individual award winners and the All-Conference teams, so you are probably asking yourself the same question that I am.
"Just how much paint did the Big Ten coaches huff this weekend?"
The Ohio State Buckeyes, a team that went 12-0 (which is mathematically the most games that you can win in a 12-game season), and won their games by an average of over two touchdowns (which led the league), were only granted three spots on the coaches' 25-man All-Big Ten First-Team roster.
None of those selections came on the offensive side of the ball for the Buckeyes. The team that led the conference in scoring with 37.2 points per game, scoring seven more touchdowns than any other Big Ten team, couldn't land anybody on the coaches' first team.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin, who scored 14 points against the Buckeyes in five periods of play lands four members on the coaches' first team offense.
Now the proper question to ask is that if I'm going to say that the coaches have gotten this wrong, then who is it from Ohio State that should be on the coaches' first team offense.
Well I'm glad you asked.
I'm not going to tell you that second-teamers Carlos Hyde or Corey Brown should be on the first team, but I would suggest that Braxton Miller, a guy who led the Big Ten's best offense, rushing for 1,271 yards and throwing for 2,039 yards in the process, should maybe get a little more consideration.
That being said, I can understand Taylor Martinez getting the nod by the coaches. Miller regressed a bit in Big Ten play and certainly was less dynamic the grayer the skies got, but Miller isn't the only beef here.
I would also like to point out that Ohio State led the conference in rushing touchdowns (37), and rushed for 10 more touchdowns and 55 yards more per game than Michigan, who landed two players on the coaches first team offensive line.
Did you watch Michigan try to run the ball up the middle against the Buckeyes on Saturday? Did you watch Ohio State successfully pound the Wolverines' defense into submission? The coaches obviously haven't gotten the film of that one yet.
Andrew Norwell was a first-team selection by the media and Jack Mewhort was a second-team selection. Neither got a sniff by the coaches aside from the "good job, good effort" of the honorable mention.
Penn State also landed two offensive linemen on the coaches' first team. Ohio State outrushed the Nittany Lions by 98 yards per game. When they met on the same field, Penn State rushed for 32 yards. I guess if first teamers John Urschel and Matt Stankiewitch weren't on the team, the Nittany Lions would've had a difficult time even topping 20 yards.
How did the Buckeye rushing offense do against Penn State's first teamers Jordan Hill and Michael Mauti, you ask? They rushed for 234 yards. No big deal.
But that all pales in comparison to the greatest and most hilariously unfunny travesty in this whole mess — Ryan Shazier being a second team linebacker according to the coaches.
Now I'm a fan of comedies, but this is like trying to add a laugh track to 'The Grapes of Wrath'. It just isn't funny.
Ryan Shazier, one of the only two logical choices as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (with John Simon), not only did not win the Big Ten's linebacker of the year award (that went to Mauti), but he didn't even make it in the coaches' top three linebackers overall.
It's every last ounce of baffling, with about three tons of idiocy thrown on top.
The coaches selected Mauti (96 tackles, 4 TFLs, 2.5 Sacks, 3 INT), Michigan State's Max Bullough (102 tackles, 12 TFLs, 2.5 Sacks, 1 INT), and Wisconsin's Chris Borland (82 tackles, 9.0 TFLs, 4.5 Sacks) for their first team.
Meanwhile, Shazier's 115 tackles rank second in the conference, his five sacks rank seventh, and his 17 tackles for loss are two more than any other player in the Big Ten.
Oh, he's also the only linebacker in the top 20 in passes broken up. He's seventh with 12. That's one per game if you don't have your calculator on you.
Granted, his three forced fumbles are not more than Mauti's three, so clearly Mauti has the edge there since he missed a game this season.
In fact, both Mauti and Borland have missed games this season. Mauti was injured in the first quarter against Indiana, essentially missing the final two games of the season. Borland has also missed two games.
But even had they played those games, they're still not going to put up better numbers than Shazier.
Just look at Mauti and Bullough. In a little over 22 games, the two of them have combined for 16 tackles for loss and five sacks. In just 12 games, and all by his lonesome, Shazier finished with 17 tackles for loss and five sacks.
Are you with me?
Do I even need to mention that Shazier's 70 solo tackles, which leads the conference, are 21 more than Mauti and Bullough, and 27 more than Borland?
And I know that you can't just point to statistics. Coaches have a keener eye than that. Coaches see the big plays as well as the intangibles.
But somehow they don't see Shazier stopping major college football's greatest touchdown scorer of all-time in mid-air at the goal line and forcing a fumble with three minutes to play in a 14-7 game.
And they certainly didn't see him step in front of a third quarter Matt McGloin pass and take it to the house, giving the Buckeyes their first lead of the game — a lead that they would never relinquish.
They obviously missed those things.
So what if Shazier's measly one touchdown this season was more than all three of the coaches' first-team linebackers combined. You can't measure heart! (Except with a scale.)
I won't speculate as to why the Buckeyes received these snubs from the Big Ten's coaches. I'll just assume it had something to do with eight of them getting beaten by what they obviously deemed to be a team full of lesser players.
After all, nobody likes losing to the Washington Generals, especially when they're being coached by Phil Jackson.
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