As sports publications go, it's hard to find one more overrated than The Sporting News; while they've been around forever and yeah yeah yeah, any organization that hangs its hat on Tom Dienhart (last seen claiming that Kirk Ferentz wouldn't command a high salary from Michigan--no, seriously) is clearly untrustworthy. Call it the Gannett Journalism Theory: "Angry readers are better than no readers," which is sort of like saying "HIV is better than AIDS." Regardless, their readership grossly dwarfs ours, which shows you what we know about media theory here at BHGP.
Anyway, speaking of those TSN kids, they've just released their Big Ten All-Freshman team, and Iowa's got five members. Wait, that came out way wrong. That would be anatomically grotesque. Five Hawkeyes made it onto the team, tops in the BXI. That's fitting for a team that used 38 different freshmen during the course of the season, 13 of them true freshmen.
The five Hawkeyes (all of whom were undoubtedly excited to be cited for something other than a misdemeanor) named by TSN were P Ryan Donahue, FS Brett Greenwood, LG Bryan Bulaga, K Daniel Murray, and WR James Cleveland.
- Ryan Donahue: A no-brainer; though he's got a lot to learn about shanks, you can't teach leg power like he's got; his 81-yarder against Michigan State and 76-yarder against Northwestern were both instrumental in Iowa's comeback victories. FUN FACT!: Donahue led the BXI with 86 punts; the only other punter within 20 was ZOLTAN THE INCONCEIVABLE, who inconceivably punted for fewer yards on average than Donahue. Presuming to know Zoltan's intentions for finishing fourth in the conference in punting average is akin to presuming to know God's intent by offering prayer, so we'll abstain. Still, Donahue's future is uncommonly bright.
- Brett Greenwood: abused by Anthony Morelli (which is like losing at chess to a horse), but used the momentum of a game-saving pick against Illinois to propel himself toward a redeemingly solid last half of the season. There aren't many walkons who can earn a second-string spot during their true freshman year, but Greenwood has defied all expectations so far. He'll never be confused for Brian Dawkins (for many obvious reasons), but he's going to be a solid starter for years to come.
- Bryan Bulaga: a definite upgrade over Travis Meade, but I think we can thank a conference that doesn't usually make stars of freshman linemen.
- Daniel Murray: an obvious necessity pick; there wasn't a single other freshman placekicker in the BXI.
- James Cleveland: Whiskey, Tango, etc. etc. There aren't many people who would call Cleveland the best freshman receiver on his own team; Derrell Johnson-Koulianos led the team in receptions and receiving yardage. As a matter of fact, there isn't a single statistical category (past longest reception, a devastating two-yard advantage) that Cleveland holds over DJK. Past the statistical parsing, everyone who actually watched the games could tell you that DJK was the best receiver on the field most of the time. Here at BHGP, the most memorable image of Cleveland was as such:
Sorry you got arrested! Probably won't happen again! Please don't tell them about me!
You will certainly get nothing and like it, Orange-Man.
One of them is art. DJK leaving all-conference cornerback Vontae Davis a helpless mass on the turf is an image that will be our favorite image of the decade, an issue we'll be broaching later this winter.
The other is a remarkably unnecessary show of support for a man who would eventually get caught for stealing three unidentified DVD's from Wal-Mart.
There really is no metric under which selecting Cleveland over DJK for BXI All-freshmen makes any sense.
Is there a freshman to whom you think the conference neglected to give credit? DJK is a ridiculous oversight, but what about Ballard and Hunter? What do you think?