The Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the top wide receiver in the land, released its annual preseason watch list on Tuesday. There are 48 names in all, and just four of them come from the Big Ten:
Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
Corey Brown, Ohio State
Keenan Davis, Iowa
Roy Roundtree, Michigan
Now, we appreciate the thought of including a handful of Big Ten players, but the reality is this: There are not four elite wide receivers in the Big Ten. There probably aren't even two.
The full Biletnikoff Award watch list is available here at the official site. Now, let's take a closer look at the candidates at this point.
Abbrederis is a deserving candidate for sure. He's a lethal punt returner, averaged nearly 17 yards per reception (that's really good) and put up an overall stat line of 55 catches, 838 yards and eight touchdowns.
Throw in 62 yards on 11 rushes and over 1,000 return yards, and the guy's just a production machine. He'll be Danny O'Brien's first target in Madison this year and should put up monster numbers.
We like Abbrederis around here. You should too.
Who's the best WR in the Big Ten?
Past that, though, the only other deserving candidate for inclusion (if there even is one) is Iowa wideout Keenan Davis. Davis' overall numbers were decent last year: 50 catches, 713 yards, four touchdowns.
But that all came with opposing secondaries focused on containing Marvin McNutt, and Davis hasn't shown the capability of being either consistent or explosive enough to be a big-time feature receiver.
As for Brown and Roundtree, they caught 14 and 19 passes last year, respectively. They'll improve on those numbers this year as their roles expand and their quarterbacks improve as passers, but there isn't a deep well of productivity being drawn from here.
Simply put, it's hard to imagine that they'd be on this list if they didn't play for Michigan or Ohio State.
And yet, what really makes this list inane is who it leaves off from other conferences. Southern Cal WR Marqise Lee and Clemson WR Sammy Watkins are both on the Maxwell Award watch list for being the best overall player in college football.
There are only 11 wide receivers on that list, and one is DeAnthony Thomas, who's listed as a running back by Oregon's website. So really, there are 10 wide receivers.
But despite being two of the 10 best wide receivers in the land, according to Maxwell Award committee voters, Lee and Watkins were left off the Biletnikoff list altogether.
So clearly, the voters are living in Crazypants Potato World, and parsing the intellectual inconsistencies therein is a fool's pursuit.