Phil Steele provided Big 12 fans with a slight reprieve from conference expansion talk, thankfully, with the release of his preseason All-Big 12 team this morning.
At first glance, there are no real shockers, but here are a few thoughts.
**Steele went with Oklahoma's Landry Jones over West Virginia's Geno Smith for the top quarterback spot. Seems like the safe pick although with the question marks surrounding OU receiving corps at the moment and considering two of the three wide receivers on his first team play for West Virginia, it wouldn't be at all surprising to Smith's name atop the all-conference lists at season's end.
**For the second straight season, Steele picked the Longhorns' Malcolm Brown for a first-team running back position. Even with UT's renewed emphasis on the running game, that might again be a stretch considering he'll be likely be splitting time again with Joe Bergeron and newcomer Jonathan Gray who Steele tabbed on his fourth team. I would have put either Dom Whaley of OU or Ed Wesley from TCU (both 2nd team picks for Steele) ahead of Brown but both of those guys will likely be splitting carries, as well.
**Kansas was the only school in the Big 12 without a player on the All-Big 12 first team. The Jayhawks didn't have a player on the 2nd team, either.
** The Big 12 is stacked at linebacker. There's some big time talent through all four teams at the position. The best of the bunch is probably Arthur Brown of Kansas State while Iowa State possesses the best duo at the position in A.J. Klein and Jake Knott. The guys on Steele's 2nd team at LB are nothing to sneeze at, however.
**It's hard to argue with the four QB's selected on the four teams. But Seth Doege and Dayne Crist and even Wes Lunt and Nick Florence our all guys worth keeping a close eye on. All four play in offenses that typically allow the QB's to put up some serious offensive numbers.
**Oklahoma led the way with seven players selected on the first team and 20 overall on the four teams. Here's a breakdown of how many players each school had selected by round.
|Oklahoma||Texas||Oklahoma St.||West Virginia||Kansas St.|
|Baylor||TCU||Iowa State||Kansas||Texas Tech|
Here's how Steele's first team shook out. For a look at all four of his all-conference picks, check out his blog entry from Tuesday.
Phil Steele First Team All-Big 12 Team
|Joseph Randle||RB||Oklahoma State|
|Tavon Austin||WR||West Virginia|
|Stedman Bailey||WR||West Virginia|
|Lane Taylor||OL||Oklahoma State|
|LaAdrian Waddle||OL||Texas Tech|
|Jake Knott||LB||Iowa State|
|AJ Klein||LB||Iowa State|
|Arthur Brown||LB||Kansas State|
|Nigel Malone||CB||Kansas State|
|Brodrick Brown||CB||Oklahoma State|
|Quinn Sharp||K||Oklahoma State|
|Quinn Sharp||P||Oklahoma State|
|Tyler Lockett||KR||Kansas State|
|Tavon Austin||PR||West Virginia|
What do you say? Agree or disagree with Mr. Steele's early preseason picks?