So this happened:
And the interwebs were a little confused.
The Big Ten defensive back of the year is ... Iowa's Micah Hyde. All together now: huh?— Rittenberg/Bennett (@ESPN_BigTen) November 27, 2012
And then the interwebs got angry.
It's not that I think Micah Hyde winning DB of the Year is dubious, or questionable, just factually incorrect.— Vico (@ourhonordefend) November 27, 2012
Iowa's Micah Hyde captures the Tatum-Woodson Award as Defensive Back of the Year and... I don't even like football anymore.— Eleven Warriors (@11W) November 27, 2012
Micah Hyde wasn't even the best Hyde in the Big Ten this year. Good Lord GO HOME COACHES YOU'RE DRUNK— Ramzy Nasrallah (@ramzy) November 27, 2012
Which... come on. Really? These are the same silly, over-hyphenated awards that the Big Ten foisted on us the same time as Legends and Leaders and they have about as much credibility as those oft-derided division names. They're a dopey invention of Jim Delany and friends to give his network something to talk about. But GRR AWARDS R SERIOUS BIZNESS AN' THE WRONG GUY WON ONE.
But... did he? I admit, my first reaction when I saw that Hyde had won the award was pretty similar to Rittenbennett's: huh? Really? I can't say that I often watched Hyde this year and thought "damn, now there's the best defensive back in the Big Ten." But I also watched quite a bit of Big Ten football this year -- probably more than is healthy to watch, honestly -- and I can't say that I watched any defensive back this year and thought "damn, now there's the best defensive back in the Big Ten." This was not a banner year for secondary stars in the Big Ten. There were no Charles Woodsons or Bob Sanderses this year. There weren't any Prince Amukamaras or Malcolm Jenkinses or Tracy Porters or Vontae Davises.
Three players led the league with four (4) interceptions -- Ohio State's Travis Howard, Purdue's Landon Feichter, and Nebraska's Daimion Stafford. Hyde had only one interception, which certainly isn't a very impressive total. Of course, he was also credited for forcing a pair of fumbles, so he wasn't inept at forcing turnovers. He was also credited with 14 pass break-ups, good for third in the Big Ten (and just three fewer than Ohio State's Bradley Roby, the cause célèbre among Ohio State fans aggrieved at Hyde's win).
He made some fine plays -- those aforementioned pass break-ups, those turnovers, running down Venric Mark to prevent a 99-yard touchdown run -- and he made some plays that were head-scratchers, if not downright bad (I still vividly recall him getting burned in the Northern Illinois game and there were certainly a few other plays like that, too). But so did every other defensive back in the Big Ten. There were no turnover machines this year and no shutdown corners. It was a down year for defensive backs. It happens. Hyde won an award. It happens.
* * *
The Big Ten also handed out all-conference honors; shockingly, Iowa was not well-represented on those teams. Hyde earned first-team honors from the coaches and media, while James Ferentz earned second-team honors from the coaches. A few other players earned honorable mention:
Honorable mention: Consensus - Fiedorowicz, Hitchens, Meyer; Coaches - Tobin; Media - Ferentz, Gaglione, Morris. #Hawkeyes— Brendan Stiles (@thebstiles) November 27, 2012
Congratulations to all the players recognized.