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Roundtable: Missing from the All-B1G team

Coming up with the midseason All-Big Ten team wasn't an easy exercise. There were only 26 available spots on our squad, and there are obviously more than 26 solid players in the conference. So, naturally, we had to make some tough calls -- and some players were left off the list.

As a result, each of us decided to highlight one deserving player who didn't make the team. Maybe he was just overshadowed by better players, maybe he was injured or maybe his inconsistency gave us pause. So here are our honorable mentions, the players who were close to making the cut and could very well make our end-of-season All-Big Ten team:

Brian Bennett: Michigan State CB Trae Waynes

Cornerback was the toughest position to decipher, and a lot of deserving players didn't make it. Waynes is asked to do a lot as Michigan State's boundary corner. He's often left alone on an island against the other teams' top weapons. That's a job he usually does very well, though there have been some breakdowns this season, notably against Oregon. The No Fly Zone is allowing more visitors than in the past, as the Spartans rank just eighth in the Big Ten in pass defense. But Waynes also had a game-clinching interception against Nebraska. So it was a tough call leaving him off, though I suspect he may work his way back at the end of the season

Austin Ward: Minnesota TE Maxx Williams

Lack of separation between Ameer Abdullah, Tevin Coleman and Melvin Gordon made it easy to just load up the All-Big Ten backfield and ditch a traditional offensive lineup. But getting rid of a spot for tight ends unfortunately left Williams out of the picture, and yet another talented tailback in Minnesota’s David Cobb would be among the first to talk about the value of having a big, physical presence blocking at that position to help out a rushing attack. As limited as the passing game may be for the Gophers, Williams has also been an asset there with 12 catches and three touchdowns. Assuming a more familiar-looking roster is settled on at the end of the season, expect to see Williams on it.

Adam Rittenberg: Rutgers WR Leonte Carroo

The Big Ten once again lacks depth at wide receiver, but Carroo has been a major bright spot for Rutgers' transformed passing attack. Carroo carried over his touchdowns trend from 2013 and is tied for second in the league this season with five scoring grabs while ranking third in receiving yards (91.3 per game). Although Penn State's DaeSean Hamilton had a better start, Carroo seems to be surging after a three-touchdown performance Sept. 27 against Tulane. Of his 29 catches this season, 21 have gone for either first downs or touchdowns. He also blocked a punt against Penn State and is a big reason why quarterback Gary Nova stretches the field so well. You can definitely make a case for Carroo over Hamilton on the team.

Josh Moyer: Nebraska DE Randy Gregory

Gregory is one of the best players the Big Ten has to offer, but an injury in the opener put a damper on his odds for the midseason team. He played in just the first series against Florida Atlantic, missed the next game and finished with just three tackles against Fresno State when he wasn't yet 100 percent. Even when you take all that into account, he's still among the conference leaders in sacks (4.5). That speaks to his ability; he makes the kind of plays that opposing quarterbacks don't forget. He's only had two great games so far, but there's plenty of season left. It would surprise absolutely no one if he made our end-of-season All-Big Ten team.

Mitch Sherman: Iowa DT Louis Trinca-Pasat

Much of the attention on the interior of Iowa’s defensive line is directed at Carl Davis. And rightfully so; Davis is a handful. But fellow tackle Trinca-Pasat has benefited more than anyone -- enough to earn consideration over Davis for a spot on the midseason team. Trinca-Pasat leads Big Ten linemen with 39 tackles, and his 5.5 tackles for loss rank 16th in the league. A third-year starter, the 6-foot-3, 290-pound senior had a huge game in the early nailbiter against Northern Iowa, and he has generally created a way to impact every game alongside Davis, forming one of the Big Ten’s best interior duos.

Dan Murphy: Michigan State CB Trae Waynes

The Spartans ask so much more of their cornerbacks than most teams that's it not entirely fair to judge them on the same criteria as their peers. Waynes is constantly on his own in coverage, which means his minor slip-ups are magnified. He's broken up three passes this season and intercepted two others, including a game-clinching pick in the final minute against Nebraska. For as much as he allows his teammates to do on defense, he probably deserves a closer look.