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All-Big 12 team needs a shakeup

Nick Tankersley Published: October 29, 2007

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The Big 12 needs a makeover.

Of its all-conference team, that is.

Less than a month remains on the conference slate. That means the announcement of the all-Big 12 teams is just around the corner.

Which brings me to the area that needs a facelift — the skill positions on offense.

Right now, the first team includes a quarterback, two running backs and two wide receivers.

I have no problem with naming one quarterback to the first-team. It makes for a tough selection, but hey, tough calls make being a first-teamer a special honor.

Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel is my pick right now, by the way.

But look at the running back position. Who are the two first-teamers?

I say Dantrell Savage is a lock. The Oklahoma State tailback is as good as they come. He is averaging 124 yards a game. He is quick. He is shifty. He is tough. He is, in other words, first-team material.

But who’s the other first-team running back?

Jammal Charles at Texas is fumble prone. Marlon Lucky at Nebraska is, well, at Nebraska. Brandon McAnderson at Kansas is averaging only 86 yards rushing a game. And Oklahoma, which might have the most talented backs, is platooning Allen Patrick, DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown.

None of those guys are slam-dunk, no-doubt first teamers.

Now, look at the receiver position. Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree and Kansas State’s Jordy Nelson are the two leading receivers in the conference, each with more than 1,000 yards receiving. They’d be my first-team picks.

That leaves out Adarius Bowman at Oklahoma State, Malcolm Kelly at Oklahoma and Todd Blythe at Iowa State. All three of those guys are expected to play in the NFL in the next year or so.

And what about Danny Amendola at Texas Tech? Or Marcus Henry at Kansas? Or even tight end Martin Rucker at Missouri?

The Big 12 is stacked with great pass catchers and so-so running backs. Then again, the conference is going. More pass-oriented offenses. Fewer run-dominated ones.

Heck, that’s college football. Teams are opening up their offenses, and that puts more emphasis on receivers.

Why not have the all-conference team reflect that? Why not have three receivers and one tailback?

It wouldn’t have to be a permanent switch. Goodness knows, the way offenses ebb and flow, the wishbone could come back into vogue before the decades out. But for now, why not give the voters an option? They could be asked to pick one running back, one wide receiver, then be given an either/or option with the other two spots. Then, who ever comes out with the most votes gets it.

For the time being, having a first-team all-conference squad with three receivers would better reflect the offenses of today. You’re a lot more likely to see an offense with three or four receivers than with two tailbacks.

The all-conference team should be the same. It’s a much-needed makeover that would bring the Big 12 up to date. Heck, if the conference would do it, it would actually become the trend-setter.

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