Big Ten players on Butkus, Lombardi lists

I'm sure it was a long, lonely weekend for you without any more college football preseason watch lists. But rejoice! We're back with more today, as the Butkus and the Rotary Lombardi awards have announced their watch lists.

The Butkus Award, naturally, goes to the nation's top linebacker. The Lombardi trophy has my favorite list of qualifications for any award: it goes to "a down lineman, end-to-end, either on offense or defense, setting up no farther than 10 yards to the left or right of the ball at the time of snap" or "a linebacker on defense, setting up no farther than five yards deep from the line of scrimmage." I like to picture the Lombardi folks watching film and using a small to-scale ruler trying to make sure each candidate is the precise required distance. Anyway, I digress.

The Big Ten players who were named to both lists:



I have to wonder when the Lombardi committee gathered its names, because Ryan is injured and likely won't be back until at least November, while the list also included David Gilbert and lists him as a Wisconsin player. Gilbert announced in the spring that he would retire from football before his surprise decision to transfer to Miami last month. So that tells you -- again -- to take these lists with more than a few shakers of salt. Still, there are worse ways to kill time before the season starts.