Phil Steele continued his preseason coverage of the 2012 season by unveiling his All-American teams this morning. The list is here, and the full list of Big Ten nominees is at the end of this post.
As with every All-Whatever list Phil Steele makes, this one is four-deep. So with 12 players listed on offense, 12 on defense, and four specialists, that makes 28 positions, and four men at each. Do the math, carry the one, that's 112 players.
And the Big Ten only has 14.
How many All-Americans does the Big Ten deserve?
The SEC, by comparison, blows the rest of the nation out of the water with 38 selections, more than twice as many as the next conference (Pac-12, 18). The ACC has 17, and the Big 12 adds 16.
The sad part is that there really aren't a whole lot of deserving Big Ten players that were left off of Steele's list. Wisconsin LB Mike Taylor is probably the most egregious omission, but it's not as if he belongs on the first or second team list.
We'd also like to see some more national recognition for guys like Michigan LB Denicos Allen and Purdue CB Ricardo Allen (not related), but they were second-team All-Big Ten on Phil Steele's list with players ahead of them left off the All-American lists, so that's not happening.
No, the real issue here is that aside from the defensive front seven (where the Big Ten was well-represented on Steele's list with seven nominees), the Big Ten is just short on star power in 2012. The passing games are brutally low on talent, the secondaries are paper-thin, and even the specialists are underwhelming. That's just how it is, and it's okay for Steele to notice that.
Phil Steele All-Americans in the Big Ten
RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin
OT Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin
DT Jonathan Hankins, Ohio State
TE Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State
DE John Simon, Ohio State
LB Gerald Hodges, Penn State
CB Johnny Adams, Michigan State
C Travis Frederick, Wisconsin
OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan
DE William Gholston, Michigan State
DT Kawann Short, Purdue
LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin
K Brett Maher, Nebraska
LB Jonathan Brown, Illinois