- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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The college football award finalists were revealed earlier this week, and for the Big Ten, it brought more snubs than selections. Although standouts like Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier, Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard and Purdue punter Cody Webster are up for national awards, others like Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland and Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah surprisingly didn't make the cut.
Today's poll question asks: Which Big Ten player was snubbed the most for a national award?
Here are the candidates (in alphabetical order) ...
Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah (Doak Walker Award): Abdullah wasn't a finalist for the Doak despite leading the Big Ten and ranking seventh nationally in rushing (134.8 ypg). He has eclipsed 100 rush yards in all but one game -- he had 98 against UCLA -- and in every Big Ten contest. Abdullah averages 145.4 yards in league games and 6.4 yards per carry for the season.
Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland (Dick Butkus Award): Borland amazingly didn't make the Butkus list despite a decorated career at Wisconsin filled with All-Big Ten honors. He tied the NCAA career record for forced fumbles last Saturday with his 14th, and he's averaging 12.2 tackles and 1.3 tackles for loss in his past five games, leading a defense that ranks fifth nationally in points allowed and seventh against the run.
Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien (Lou Groza Award): After winning Big Ten co-kicker of the year honors in 2012, Budzien continued to excel this season, leading the league in both field goals (20) and field-goal attempts (22), a conversion rate of 90.9 percent. He was a major asset for a Northwestern offense that has struggled to find the end zone in Big Ten play. Only two kickers have more field goals than Budzien, but he wasn't among the Groza finalists.
Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson (Biletnikoff Award): Like Budzien, Robinson won the Big Ten's top award for his position in 2012, and keeps producing at a high rate. He leads the Big Ten in both receptions (89) and receiving yards (1,310), ranking fifth nationally in receiving yards per game (119.1) and eighth in receptions average (8.1). But it wasn't enough to get him on the list of Biletnikoff Award finalists.
Michigan State punter Mike Sadler (Ray Guy Award): Spartans coach Mark Dantonio considers the punt the "most important single play in football," and Sadler has helped MSU tremendously this year, averaging 42.4 yards per punt and placing 27 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line (15 fair catches). He was especially important early in the season when the Spartans struggled mightily on offense, and he has successfully executed two fakes. But it wasn't enough to get him on the list of finalists for the Guy Award.
1dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy