The Associated Press Released it's All American Football teams on Monday, and Hawkeyes Matt Roth and Jonathon Babineaux were honored for their play. Roth earned 2nd team AA honors, while Babineaux was tabbed for the 3rd team.
A pair of Big Ten wideouts, Michigan's Braylon Edwards and Purdue's Taylor Stubblefield were first team All Americans.
LSU defensive lineman Marcus Spears was named to the first team, along with Wisconsin's Erasmus James. Ohio State's A.J. Hawk was named to the first team, while Iowa's Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway did not make any of the three teams.
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These awards are not scientific, so any complaining is more or less fodder for message boards and talk radio.
But I think a few Hawkeyes can make a case for being slighted, to one degree or another.
I have a hard time believing that there are nine better linebackers in the nation than Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway. And no mention of Northwestern's LB Tim McGarigle, who led the league with 102 solo's, some 29 solo's better than the next highest total, is also worthy of debate.
Then comes the obvious: Erasmus James over Matt Roth.
Wisconsin did not exactly play a lights out schedule this year, and their once-vaunted defense was torched on the scoreboard in their final two games against Michigan State and Iowa, with a Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line.
James and three other players tied for the most sacks in the league, two of them being Roth and Babineaux. True, James did play one fewer game than everyone else due to injury, but this next statistic is more revealing.
Babineaux had 20 tackles for loss, far and away the best total in the Big Ten. Roth had 14, which tied for third best. James had 11.
I am willing to admit a ‘homer' bias here, but I did not see two more disruptive defensive linemen in the Big Ten this year than Roth and Babineaux, and that includes watching James play three times and watching every Big Ten team play at least one game, if not two.
James was the darling of ESPN this year, and their back to back wins at Purdue and Columbus on national TV probably sealed the deal.
James is a great football player, but I would not trade him for either Roth or Babineaux.