Ball, Martinez, Miller in Silver Football mix

Our apologies for not posting this sooner, but the three finalists for the Chicago Tribune's Silver Football Award -- Big Ten's best player-- are in.

They are:

Ball won the award in 2011 and is trying to become the first back-to-back winner since former Indiana running back Anthony Thompson in 1988 and 1989. Ball last week became the NCAA's all-time touchdowns king after scoring his 79th touchdown at Penn State, and he plays tonight in the Big Ten championship game against Martinez and Nebraska.

Martinez and Miller shared first-team All-Big Ten honors, with Martinez making the coaches' team and Miller earning the media's pick. Miller earned Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors and also was named the league's Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year. Miller certainly had the best of Martinez in their head-to-head meeting Oct. 6 in Columbus, but Martinez finished the season strong, guiding Nebraska to a Legends Division title.

The league coaches vote on the Silver Football Award, and it's no surprise to see these three players in the mix. Were there any snubs on the defensive side? Perhaps. But the head-scratching voting for All-Big Ten linebacker and a mini surprise with the Defensive Player of the Year selection (Ohio State defensive end John Simon) indicated the award would be going to an offensive player.

The Silver Football winner will be announced next week.