Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Iowa All-Decade Team

After picking up the latest copy of Lindy's preseason college football magazine I noticed an interesting feature they had on the Big Ten All-Decade team. So, I thought it would be a good blog topic to post my University of Iowa All-Decade team.

Notice: These picks do not reflect where a player was drafted or how well they did in the pros. This is strictly based on their college football productivity at the University of Iowa. Also the positions might not always go by strict formatting, for example the first team offensive line has three tackles, one guard, and one center. It just goes by who was the most productive on the line, regardless of interior position. Enjoy!

1st Team Offense:

QB: Brad Banks
This was really a coin flip between Banks and Drew Tate. You could make a good argument for either player. Although Banks was only the starting quarterback for one season you can't argue that he had one of the best seasons for any player in a Hawkeye uniform this decade. He led the supremely talented 2002 squad to an undefeated Big Ten season and championship while throwing for 2,573 yards and 26 touchdowns, not to mention his 423 rushing yards. Banks also garnered more national attention than any other Hawkeye this decade by winning the Davey O'Brien award, being name AP National Player of the Year, and being runner-up for the Heisman trophy. For those reasons he just barely gets the nod over Tate.

HB: Shonn Greene
HB: Fred Russell
The selection of Shonn Greene is an easy one, even though he only started one season this decade. Greene finished the 2008 years with 1,850 yards (second in the nation), 20 touchdowns, a consensus All-American, and won the Doak Walker award. Greene's 2008 statistics were all single season Iowa rushing records. The choice of Russell was a little harder as there have been many talented Iowa backs this decade. Others making viable claims for first team honors include Albert Young (led Big Ten in rushing in 05, 3rd all-time leading rusher) and LaDell Betts (2nd All-Time leading rusher, back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons). Russell barely edges these two out by also having back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons that were more successful than Betts (2002, 2003). Betts also is at a disadvantage having played two of his years in the 90s (1998, 1999).

WR: Maurice Brown
WR: Ed Hinkel
Mo Brown had the most productive season for any wide receiver in this decade by catching 48 balls for 966 yards and breaking the single season receiving touchdowns record in 2002. Hinkel is also a first team'er for his sure hands and solid consistency throughout his four year career.

TE:
Dallas Clark
This is another no-brainer selection. Clark is not only the best tight end for Iowa this decade but one of the best in the NCAA's during that time frame.

OL: Robert Gallery
OL: Eric Steinbach
OL: Bruce Nelson
OL: Marshal Yanda
OL: Bryan Bulaga
I feel like I could run for a thousand yards behind this offensive line. Gallery was all-world during his career at Iowa, having won the Outland trophy. And, Bulaga (with two years eligibility remaining) could be the second coming.

K: Nate Kaeding
Was there any doubt about this one? Nate Kaeding is one of the best kickers in college football history.

1st Team Defense:
DL: Matt Roth
DL: Mitch King
DL: Jonathan Babineaux
DL: Aaron Kampman
Now there is a defensive line that would have any quarterback fearing for his life. Mitch King and Matt Roth provided the intensity and were team leaders during their years in a Hawkeye uniform, while also being extremely productive on the field. Kampman is one of the best ever at Iowa at his position, and Babineaux had a monster senior year after converting from fullback earlier in his career.

LB: Chad Greenway
LB: Abdul Hodge
LB: Fred Barr
Greenway and Hodge are also two all-timers at Iowa. They dominated Big Ten offenses for three straight years as starters. Barr was a four year starter who, while not as spectacular as Hodge and Greenway, had a very productive career for the Hawks. Other contenders included Mike Humpal, Mike Klinkenborg, and Pat Angerer.

S: Bob Sanders
S: Sean Considine
Bob Sanders was an easy selection. Considine was a smart player who often times was the quarterback of the Iowa defense. He was also more productive than other safeties this decade (Marcus Paschal, Miguel Merrick, and Derek Pagal).

CB: Amari Spievey
CB: Jovon Johnson
While Spievey is still a current player he had a solid year in 2008 (66 tackles, 4 Ints) and still has two years of eligibility remaining, including one this decade. He is poised to break out in 2009, and also gets recognition after defensive coordinator Norm Parker said that he may be the most talented corner they've had during the Ferentz era. Jovon Johnson, on the other hand, was very productive during his four year starting career at Iowa, including 16 career interceptions.

P: David Bradley
Bradley barely gets the nod over current punter Ryan Donahue.


What picks do you agree with? Disagree with? Who was snubbed? Who was overrated? And, finally who was the best player for Iowa this decade? (Greene, Gallery, Banks, Sanders, Greenway, Hodge, or Kaeding?)

Monday, June 15, 2009

2009 Preseason All-Big Ten Team

After a month hiatus I'm back with my first Road to the Rose Bowl blog of the summer.

Today I give my preseason All-Big Ten first team. This will be interesting to look back on come December/January, when I can come back and see how accurate my picks were, or face the far more likely scenario of seeing just how 'full of you know what' I am.

Anywho, without further ado:

2009 Preseason All-Big Ten 1st Team

Offense:
QB: Juice Williams - Illinois
This was a hard choice, and a pick that could take some flack. It's either all or nothing for Illinois in 2009. Everyone knows the story on the Fighting Illini, they are loaded with talent on paper, but can't seem to translate that into on the field W's. I believe the 2009 Illini squad will more resemble the 07 squad (not quite that successful, however) than the freefall that was the 2008 team. Juice will be relieved of some of the pressure this year as he now has two experienced players in the backfield in Daniel Dufrene and Jason Ford. Juice also has the luxury of throwing to arguably one of the most talented returning wide receivers in the country in Arrelious Benn. I look for the Illini to return to having a winning record, and in the process Williams should put up lofty numbers in his senior year.

RB: Evan Royster - Penn State
RB: John Clay - Wisconsin
Running back was a major strength for the Big Ten in 2008 and although the conference loses the likes of Shonn Greene, Javon Ringer, Beanie Wells, and Tyrell Sutton----the cupboard is not bare. Amongst the aforementioned stars Evan Royster put up a quiet 1,236 yards and 12 touchdowns. Royster should put up similar or better numbers this year. Wisconsin's Clay had a strong first campaign in 2008 and will put up much better numbers in '09 as he becomes the feature back after RB P.J. Hill decided to forego a year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft (reasons unknown).

OL: Bryan Bulaga - Iowa
OL: Justin Boren - Ohio State
OL: Stefen Wisniewski - Penn State
OL: Joel Foreman - Michigan State
OL: Kyle Calloway - Iowa
The Iowa offensive line should be one of the tops in the nation, anchored by Bulaga and Calloway. Wisniewski and Foreman should have solid years on the offensive front while former Michigan transfer Justin Boren should have an immediate impact for his new team the Ohio State Buckeyes.

TE: Garrett Graham - Wisconsin
Graham should have a good year if Wisconsin can find a reliable quarterback. But, watch out for the oft-injured Tony Moeaki who could finally have a breakout year---barring injury.

WR: Arrelious Benn - Illinois
WR: Eric Decker - Minnesota
These are really no brainer picks as Benn and Decker are not only the top two WRs in the Big Ten but also amongst the best in the country.

Defense:
DL: Corey Wooten - Northwestern
DL: Jared Odrick - Penn State
DL: Jammie Kirlew - Indiana
DL: Thaddeus Gibson - Ohio State
Gibson is the Buckeye's returning sack man having registered five in 2008. He should increase the number in 2009 as he begins to maximize his potential during his junior campaign. Kirlew and teammate Greg Middleton could be bright spots on an Indiana team that should see its fair share of gloomy moments this season.

LB: Navorro Bowman - Penn State
LB: Pat Angerer - Iowa
LB: Sean Lee - Penn State
It feels weird not seeing James Laurinaitis on this list, but after his seemingly decade long run of dominating Big Ten offenses, Laurinaitis is finally in the NFL. Which opens up preseason and postseason accolades for other Big Ten linebackers. It is hard to leave Michigan State's Greg Jones off this list but he just barely gets bumped to the second team. Angerer led the Big Ten in interceptions (5) as a middle linebacker last season. Bowman was the conferences best tackler and his teammate Lee missed all of 08 after getting injured in the spring. Lee, the most hyped of all, should have a monster year if he can return to pre-injury form.

S: Tyler Sash - Iowa
S: Kurt Coleman - Ohio State
CB: Traye Simmons - Minnesota
CB: Amari Spievey - Iowa
Iowa's defensive backfield should be solid with two first team all-Big Ten'ers in Spievey and Sash. Sash tied teammate Pat Angerer for the Big Ten's lead in intereceptions with five. While Spievey (second team all-Big Ten last season) is set to break onto the national scene in 2009 after having four interceptions and improving every game in 08. Simmons returns to the Gophers after being a second team selection last year. While Ohio State's Coleman need to play an even bigger role on the OSU defense that loses plenty of stars to the NFL, including cornerback Malcolm Jenkins.

Specialists:
K: Brett Swenson - Michigan State
P: Zoltan Mesko - Michigan
KR: David Gilreath - Wisconsin
PR: Ray Small - Ohio State