All-Big Ten Offensive Team in the BCS Era
Last week, we brought you the All-Big Ten defense in the BCS era. Now, it is time for the offense.
Where the defense provided many areas of argument and debate the offensive side of the ball arguably offers more. This is mostly due to how many incredible linemen have come through the doors of the conference.
As with the defensive side of the ball, the only rule for this list was that players had to play a minimum of two years in the BCS era. Where we went with a 4-4 for the defense, our offense includes two running backs and two wide receivers. This choice seemed most fair to include the talent that has graced the conference.
Let's take a gander at the All-Big Ten offense.
QB: Drew Brees (Purdue)
Second-Team: Troy Smith (Ohio State)
Brees may not have as many trophies on the shelf as Smith, but the numbers he put up during his Boilermaker career make him the best Big Ten QB of the BCS era.
The 2000 Maxwell Award winner left Purdue as the all-time Big Ten leader in passing (11,792 yards), as well as, a list of many other offensive categories. It was during that impressive 2000 campaign that Brees led Purdue to the Big Ten title. Brees took his efficiency to the NFL won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints in 2009. His Sunday accomplishments have somewhat overshadowed what he did at Purdue, but make no mistake that he was the class of the position during the BCS era.
HB: Ron Dayne (Wisconsin), Montee Ball (Wisconsin)
Second-Team: Larry Johnson (Penn State), Mike Hart (Michigan)
It was difficult to place Johnson on the second-team, but Wisconsin's two premier running backs are both NCAA record holders. Dayne for yards, and Ball for touchdowns.
Each were highly productive players during their tenure leading Wisconsin to national prominence.
Dayne's record-breaking career (7,125 rushing yards) was capped off by taking home a slew of awards in 1999 that included the coveted Heisman Trophy. Ball was never as lucky to nab that distinction, but with 83 career touchdowns it is not hard to see the reason why he lands here.
WR: Braylon Edwards (Michigan), Carlos Rogers (Michigan State)
Second-Team: Lee Evans (Wisconsin), Plaxico Burress (Michigan State)
Of the skill positions, the Big Ten has not been as impressive at the wideout position. Regardless, there were still several players who shined on a national stage. Edwards and Rogers were two of these players.
Rogers, in just two seasons at Michigan State, became one of the program's most prolific receivers. He also came home with the 2002 Biletnikoff Award as the nation's best wideout. Check the Spartan record book, and you will see him name line the pages.
Without question the best talent the Big Ten saw out wide during the BCS era was Michigan's Edwards. He came home in 2004 with the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Biletnikoff Award. He is the Big Ten record holder for receiving touchdowns (39) and posted three straight years of over 1,000 yards receiving.
T: Joe Thomas (Wisconsin), Jake Long (Michigan)
Second-Team: Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Chris McIntosh (Wisconsin)
At tackle there are only two names that come to mind immediately. Thomas and Long are perhaps the two best tackles during the BCS regardless of conference. They were stellar talents.
Thomas was the 2006 Outland Trophy winner and a unanimous All-American in that same year. Long was a two-time unanimous All-American himself (2006, 2007).
If there were nice, pretty stats for linemen like there were for quarterbacks and halfbacks, these two men would have been invited to the Heisman Trophy presentation during their college careers because they were the cream of the crop. It was a pleasure for all to watch them work in protecting their respective quarterbacks during their college careers.
G: Steve Hutchinson (Michigan), David Baas (Michigan)
Second-Team: Eric Steinbach (Iowa), Robert Gallery (Iowa)
Michigan knows how to develop offensive line talent. Hutchinson and Baas are just the leading two interior linemen.
Hutchinson did not allow a sack in his final two years while wearing the Maize and Blue. Prior to the BCS era, as a freshman, he helped the Wolverines to the 1997 co-national championship (shared with Nebraska). He lacks the hardware that several other of the players won during their careers, but his production on the field is irrefutable.
Baas was a first-team All-Big Ten selection from 2002-2004. During his senior season in 2004 he was moved to center, showcasing his flexibility as an interior lineman, and came home as a unanimous All-American and Rimington Award winner.
C: Greg Eslinger (Minnesota)
Second-Team: LeCharles Bentley (Ohio State)
Eslinger was a multiple time All-American and All-Big Ten selection.
How good was he as a center? Not only did he win the Remington Trophy in 2005, but he also took home the Outland Trophy, as well. He was a remarkable interior linemen. Additionally, Eslinger was one of the finest players the Golden Gophers ever produced.
TE: Dallas Clark (Iowa)
Second-Team: Travis Beckum (Wisconsin)
Clark was a unanimous All-American selection in 2002, and brought the Mackey Award back with him to Iowa in that same year.
He is most known for his time on Sundays, but his production on Saturdays must not be ignored. It is difficult to assess how he would have added to his legacy had he stayed for his senior season, but in just a short amount of time he developed into a star tight end. His offensive output allowed Iowa to claim a piece of the 2002 Big Ten title.