Semifinalists for both the Maxwell and Chuck Bednarik awards were announced on Monday, and the Big Ten presence is strong in the latter.
The Maxwell Award goes to the top player in college football, while the Bednarik trophy honors the top defensive player in the country.
Wisconsin's Russell Wilson is the only Big Ten player on the Maxwell semifinal list. The Badgers' losses in the last two weeks have hurt what was a strong campaign for their quarterback.
There's better news on the Bednarik front, where four Big Ten players are among the final 16. They are: Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus, Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still, Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David and Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy. All four are having tremendous seasons and should earn strong consideration as potential finalists.
You can view the entire Maxwell and Bednarik lists here.
The Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation's top cornerback, also announced its semifinalists on Monday. Unfortunately for the Big Ten, no league players made it. Guys who should have earned some consideration include Purdue's Ricardo Allen, Michigan State's Johnny Adams and Illinois' Tavon Wilson. Nebraska's Alfonzo Dennard would have had a good shot if he hadn't missed time because of injury.