Awards watch: Biggest snubs for Buckeyes

December, 2, 2013
12/02/13
7:00
PM ET
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The trophy case already is filling up, which is no surprise for an unbeaten team currently in position to play for the national title.

Braxton Miller is the Big Ten's best quarterback. Carlos Hyde was honored as the league's best running back. In total, eight different Ohio State players were honored as first-team All-Big Ten by either the media or the coaches.

But for all the new awards picked up on Monday, the Buckeyes actually might have a few legitimate complaints coming out of the unveiling of the all-conference teams and positional awards. Those snubs aren't likely to be brought up publicly any time soon, but they just might become motivation for a few Buckeyes as they eye another piece of hardware on Saturday against Michigan State with the conference title on the line in Indianapolis.

[+] EnlargeRyan Shazier
AP Photo/Jay LaPreteRyan Shazier leads the Big Ten in three big categories but wasn't named the league's best linebacker.
LB Ryan Shazier: As skilled and tough as Wisconsin's Chris Borland is, the voting for the Butkus-Fitzgerald Award for the league's best linebacker seemed about as straightforward as could be given Shazier's incredible production across the board defensively. Somehow, the junior still came up short against Borland. Shazier leads the Big Ten in tackles with 122, tackles for loss with 21 and forced fumbles with 4, and aside from those numbers was unquestionably the most valuable defender for a unit that had to replace every other starter in the front seven from a year ago. Shazier may well still win defensive player of the year on Tuesday, but that would make it only more difficult to understand how he wasn't the best linebacker in the league.

LT Jack Mewhort: The anchor of clearly the best overall offensive line and the fiery leader of the No. 2 team in the nation could file complaints in two different categories, starting with trying to figure out which coaches didn't vote for him as an all-conference performer as he slipped to the second team. The media had Mewhort on its top squad, along with Andrew Norwell and Corey Linsley, but his nasty run blocking and solid pass protection for Miller apparently didn't impress the coaches around the league quite enough. The senior also came up short in the Rimington-Pace Award race, with Michigan's Taylor Lewan getting the nod despite contributing to an offense that rushed for only 130 yards per game this season and allowed 35 sacks. Mewhort has a big test ahead of him against the Spartans, but he might have a bit of extra fuel for the fire to attack them now.

DE Noah Spence/DT Michael Bennett: Between the media and the coaches, the tandem on the Ohio State defensive line landed on only one first-team despite the four cracks at it, with Spence getting a nod from the media. The sophomore finished second in the Big Ten in sacks and was clearly deserving of the attention, but Bennett seemed to slip through the cracks a bit despite finishing only one spot behind Spence on the league leader board. Despite playing inside, Bennett racked up 7 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss and also forced and recovered a pair of fumbles during a breakout season. He deserved a little more credit as the regular season came to a close.

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter

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