Why would Iowa, or anyone else, let it be known that they have preseason All-Big Ten selections?
Did most of what was projected for the 2010 Hawkeyes not turn out to be wildly optimistic? I look to what Phil Steele’s 2010 College Football Preview said. Iowa was picked second in the Big Ten and No. 14 in the nation. In individual units, he had the Hawkeyes’ defensive line third-best in the nation and its secondary fifth-best. Those certainly didn’t come to fruition.
I could continue, but you get the idea. These lists mean nothing. Steele is one of the best at what he does, but things change, the ball bounces funny, and some teams and players get better while others stall and even recede.
Steele’s preseason first-team All-America quarterback last year was Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor. His second-team QB was Case Kellum of Houston, his third-team QB was Ryan Mallett of Arkansas, and his fourth-team QB was Jake Locker of Washington. Those picks made total sense last summer. But in December, Auburn’s Cam Newton and Stanford’s Andrew Luck were 1-2.
LaMichael James of Oregon was on Steele’s fourth-team at running back. He was the college game’s running back of the year.
Defensive tackle Nick Fairley of Auburn was everybody’s All-American at season’s end. Not so much in the preseason.
Adrian Clayborn of Iowa was a consensus first-team All-America in the preseason. CBSsports.com made Clayborn its preseason Defensive Player of the Year. His offensive counterpart was Kellen Moore of Boise State. Clayborn was on Associated Press’ third-team after the season. So was Moore. CBSsports also had Iowa safety Tyler Sash as a first-team preseason All-America. He wasn’t among the six safeties on AP’s postseason All-America teams.
Yet, sports information departments keep pumping out memos that proclaim their players are getting preseason honors.
I think Iowa has more postseason honorees in years in which it has fewer preseason acclaim. So if you want a good omen, Steele is counting down his preseason Top 30, and he’s up to No. 8. Iowa hasn’t been mentioned, and won’t be.
But Nebraska is 12th, Ohio State 15th, Wisconsin 23rd, Penn State 24th and Michigan State 28th. So don’t the Hawkeyes have the rest of the Big Ten right where they want it?