Who'll be the Big 12's preseason Offensive Player of the Year?
The fans spoke loudly and pegged Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk as their winner. He finished 2012 as the hottest player in the league, rushing for 831 yards in the final six games and topping 1,000 yards with just 131 carries last season. He's a sure bet to get more this time around, but the Bears' speedster collected 35 percent of the vote, well ahead of the No. 2 finisher.
Texas Tech's Eric Ward took that spot with 24 percent of the vote. I was a little surprised to see him that high, but the Red Raiders' receiver has been marked by consistency the last couple seasons. He had five 100-yard games last year, including four in the final six games of the season. He also managed to haul in five total touchdown catches against the Big 12's two best defenses: TCU and Kansas State.
Kansas State's John Hubert was third with 19 percent of the vote. Oklahoma State's Josh Stewart got 15 percent of the vote and Kansas' James Sims earned just seven percent of the vote. Considering what Sims did last year -- hitting 1,000 yards with a three-game suspension and no passing game -- I expected him to get more of the vote, but it's not hard to believe people have a tough time voting for the league's Offensive Player of the Year from a 1-11 team.
My vote would definitely go to Seastrunk. He'll be one of the least accomplished Big 12 preseason Offensive Player of the Years in some time, but I'll be shocked if he doesn't win. It's a thin field, even though Seastrunk could make it look a whole lot stronger by the end of the season.
There's not really a compelling candidate elsewhere in the league, but I'll be intrigued to see if anybody casts a vote for quarterbacks like Texas' David Ash or TCU's Casey Pachall. Like I wrote earlier today about Phil Steele's All-Big 12 teams, some people see this award as a prediction, not a title of the league's most accomplished offensive player before the season began. I wouldn't be surprised to see new quarterbacks like Bryce Petty, Michael Brewer or Oklahoma State's Clint Chelf get a vote, too.
For me, though, it's all Seastrunk. He's the Big 12's most dangerous player with the ball in his hand and the league's most dangerous player in the open field now that Tavon Austin's taken his talents to St. Louis, which is apparently SEC country now, or so I'm told.
Come July, it's a safe bet he'll be the Big 12's preseason Offensive Player of the Year, too.