In the aftermath of Tebowgate, I guess the Big Ten decided it needed its own all-conference quarterback controversy:
The Big Ten Conference announced today that Ohio State has been selected as the preseason favorite for the 2009 football season by media members attending the conference’s football media day. Penn State was tabbed to finish second, and Michigan State was third. In addition, the media panel also named Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
For the record, selecting Jones over Michigan's Brandon Graham, Penn State's Navorro Bowman and Northwestern's Corey Wootton may be a controversial decision in itself, albeit one that probably won't make steam shoot out of rivals' ears. But consider that Pryor, obviously talented as he was as a freshman, didn't even attempt enough passes to qualify for the NCAA's pass efficiency standings and was 10-for-27 passing in his last two games, at the same time Daryll Clark was busy earning first team all-conference honors while playing a larger role on the eventual conference champion and Juice Williams was running away from everyone in terms of total offense. Conference coaches also voted Minnesota's Adam Weber second team on their All-Big Ten ballots last year, ahead of Pryor and Juice. And when you get away from the candidates at quarterback, there's still, you know, Arrelious Benn.
Not that I necessarily disagree with the media's thinking here, since I too think Pryor is in perfect position to go Godzilla on the rest of the league as a sophomore. Such "official" deference for a largely unproven player over heretofore more accomplished upperclassmen is just a little ... surprising.
Update, 4:48 ET: Apparently I wasn't the only one caught a little off guard by the Pryor love.