ESPN.com's preseason All-Big Ten team

The Big Ten doesn't announce an official preseason all-conference team. But that doesn't mean we can't.

Here are our picks for the 2012 preseason All-Big Ten team:


QB: Denard Robinson, Michigan

RB: Montee Ball, Wisconsin

RB: Rex Burkhead, Nebraska

RB: Le'Veon Bell, Michigan State

WR: Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin

TE: C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa

OT: Taylor Lewan, Michigan

OT: Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin

OG: Spencer Long, Nebraska

OG: Chris McDonald, Michigan State

C: Travis Frederick, Wisconsin


DE: John Simon, Ohio State

DE: William Gholston, Michigan State

DT: Kawann Short, Purdue

DT: Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State

LB: Gerald Hodges, Penn State

LB: Chris Borland, Wisconsin

LB: Jonathan Brown, Illinois

CB: Johnny Adams, Michigan State

CB: Ricardo Allen, Purdue

S: Isaiah Lewis, Michigan State

S: Jordan Kovacs, Michigan


K/P: Brett Maher, Nebraska

KR: Raheem Mostert, Purdue

PR: Abbrederis

Thoughts: The first thing that likely jumps out at you is that we have three running backs and just one receiver on our first-team offense. No, we haven't forgotten the rules of football. It's just that we continue to feel the wide receiver crop is weak this season, and no great candidates for the second spot leap out at us. Perhaps Keenan Davis of Iowa or one of Northwestern's many receivers will have a great season, but no one has proved anything on a consistent basis. We'd rather have Bell -- who we believe is primed for a huge year -- on the team than any of the receiver candidates. Plus, isn't running the ball what Big Ten football is all about? ... Some of the toughest omissions came at linebacker, where Michigan State's duo of Denicos Allen and Max Bullough and Wisconsin's Mike Taylor were among those left out. At least we know we'd have an outstanding second-team unit at that position. ... Fiedorowicz is a bit of a projection pick, but we love the way he finished last season and how he fits into Greg Davis' new scheme. You certainly could make a strong case for Wisconsin's Jacob Pedersen or Ohio State's Jake Stoneburner there as well. ... Some of these players won't live up to expectations, and others will explode on the scene this fall. But for now, we'd feel pretty good about throwing this team on the field.