And now, for a post on the least controversial topic ever.
The Associated Press released its All-Big 12 first and second teams on Monday, along with its players of the year. That means it's time to release Bleacher Report's All-Big 12 team and individual superlatives, starting with the players and coach of the year.
Offensive Player of the Year: Quarterback Bryce Petty, Jr., Baylor
Defensive Player of the Year: Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, Sr., Texas
Coach of the Year: Art Briles, Baylor
Reason: Briles and Petty were no-brainers, although you could make a compelling argument for Bob Stoops as Coach of the Year too. Oklahoma has 10 wins despite a few season-ending injuries to some key players and quarterback issues. Still, there's no ignoring the job Briles has done.
Defensive Player of the Year was harder to select. Jeffcoat, Kansas State defensive end Ryan Mueller, Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert and linebacker Caleb Lavey, and TCU cornerback Justin Verrett all have a legitimate case. Jeffcoat has been playing out of his mind, though, and he's always around the ball and/or in the backfield.
All-Big 12 Offense
WR: Antwan Goodley, Jr., Baylor
WR: Tyler Lockett, Jr., Kansas State
TE: Jace Amaro, Jr., Texas Tech
RB: Lache Seastrunk, Jr., Baylor
RB: Charles Sims, Sr., West Virginia
QB: Bryce Petty, Jr. Baylor
C: Gabe Ikard, Sr., Oklahoma
OL: Cyril Richardson, Sr., Baylor
OL: Trey Hopkins, Sr., Texas
OL: Parker Graham, Sr., Oklahoma State
OL: Spencer Drango, So., Baylor
K: Anthony Fera, Sr., Texas
KR: B.J. Catalon, So., TCU
Reason: It says something about offenses in the Big 12 that there are just as many wide receiver selections as there are running backs. Goodley and Lockett were phenomenal all year, though Lockett was a more critical part of his team's passing game.
The AP gave a first-team RB selection to Kansas' James Sims, but you'd be hard pressed to find a player who was more valuable to his offense than Charles Sims. He'd be getting more recognition if his supporting case was better and if the Mountaineers weren't 4-8.
All Big-12 Defense
DE: Jackson Jeffcoat, Sr., Texas
DT: Cedric Reed, Jr., Texas
DT: Will Clarke, Sr., West Virginia
DE: Ryan Mueller, Jr., Kansas State
LB: Eddie Lackey. Sr., Baylor
LB: Caleb Lavey, Sr. Oklahoma State
LB: Jeremiah George, Sr., Iowa State
DB: Jason Verrett, Sr., TCU
DB: Justin Gilbert, Sr., Oklahoma State
DB: Chris Hackett, So., TCU
DB: Ty Zimmerman, Sr., Kansas State
PR: Jalen Saunders, Sr., Oklahoma
P: Kirby Van Der Kamp. Sr., Iowa State
Reason: Similar to the Defensive Player of the Year, the All-Big 12 Defense was more difficult to select than offense. That speaks to the state of the conference and the number of quality players on this side of the ball.
For example, it was tough to leave Texas Tech linebacker Will Smith off the list when he had 106 tackles on the year. Same thing with Oklahoma State defensive back Daytawion Lowe, who hasn't received the same level of recognition as Justin Gilbert, but who is a big part of the Cowboys secondary.
Offensive Play of the Year: Eric Ward's one-handed catch against Baylor.
Defensive Play of the Year: Ryan Mueller's forced fumble and recovery against Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty. (Sorry for picking on you, Bears.)
Special Teams Play of the Year: Jaden Oberkrom's 56-yard field goal for TCU against Kansas State. The Frogs couldn't pull out the win, but that kick would have been good from 60 yards out.
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