I put together my own preseason picks for the Big 12 edition of the CFBMatrix season preview magazine that should be dropping in the next few weeks. However, with the release of the media's preseason all-conference team, I figured I'd weigh in with a few thoughts:
*I get that Devonte Fields is good and all, but I find his selection as the preseason defensive player of the year downright farcical. He had a tremendous freshman season at defensive end for TCU in 2012, but he barely registered last season while battling injuries. In a year where the level of talent on defense is actually pretty strong, I'd argue that you could make a case for four or five players ahead of Fields.
*In fact, most of those worthy candidates would come from Fields' position group on the defensive line. Although the conference hasn't produced many top-notch linemen in recent years, this one looks like a notable exception. Consider that Malcom Brown and Charles Tapper didn't even make the cut for the first team.
*Conversely, the offensive line looks weak. Players such as Daryl Williams and Cody Whitehair are solid, but Orlando Pace they are not.
*The Texas running back situation creates a conundrum. Given the Longhorns' quarterback depth chart at the moment and the talent in the backfield, offensive coordinators Shawn Watson and Joe Wickline will undoubtedly rely on the ground game this season. If Johnathan Gray really is ready to rock, he could make a run at the offensive player of the year award – he's that good. If not, Malcolm Brown will get a steady diet of carries this season. Either way, look for one of the tandem to end up with first-team honors at the end of the season.