Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Two Big 12 defensive linemen are among the four finalists for the Lombardi Award, which will be presented by the Rotary Club of Houston.
Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy are among four finalists who will attend a banquet in Houston where the winner will be announced on Dec. 9. Other finalists include TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes and Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody.
The Big 12 has featured four winners in its history as a conference since 1996. Previous winners include Texas A&M linebacker Dat Nguyen in 1998, Nebraska defensive end Grant Wistrom in 1997, Oklahoma defensive tackle Tommie Harris in 2003 and Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo last season.
In the history of the award, more honorees have come from Big 12 schools than any other conference. Many of those winners came from schools in the old Big Eight and Southwest conferences.
It would appear that Suh is the early favorite for the award. But he will need a strong finish to stave off the others. Cody would appear to be Suh's biggest challenger, and the Alabama player should get much exposure as the Crimson Tide battle to claim the Southeastern Conference championship.