With the season wrapped up, here are my selection for this year's All-Big 12 team.
2016 All-Big 12 Team - Offense
QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
RB: D’Onta Foreman, Texas
RB: Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
FB/TE: Dmitri Flowers, Oklahoma
WR: James Washington, Oklahoma State
WR: Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma
WR: Jonathan Giles, Texas Tech
OL: Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
OL: Tyler Orlosky, West Virginia
OL: Kyle Fuller, Baylor
OL: Conner Williams, Texas
OL: Kyle Bosch, West Virginia
Offensive Player of the Year: Westbrook
Offensive Newcomer of the Year: Shane Buechele, Texas
*No surprise, but that's a whole mess of Sooners. In an offense-obsessed league, OU had the best attack.
*I hate leaving off Texas Tech quarterback Pat Mahomes. No defense, no running attack – the Red Raiders' entire game plan this year revolved around him putting the team on his back. Or, more appropriately, his injured right arm.
A little perspective: Mahomes had 590 passing attempts in 12 games this season. The next most was Oklahoma St. QB Mason Rudolph's 416 throws.
*On the low, it wasn't an awful year for tight ends. Sure, few teams had legitimate weapons manning the spot, but plenty of fullback/tight end/H-back types did some solid work as blockers and occasional passing targets. Kansas State's Winston Dimel even ran the Wildcats', um, wildcat QB package.
I took Flowers because of his reliability as a receiver and his yeoman's work as OU's lone running back versus Iowa State.
*Justice Hill made a hell of a run for the newcomer award by sparking OSU's ground game in the second half of the season. Buechele's strong start propelled him across the finish line, though.
*It feels odd bypassing Mayfield as the conference's offensive player of the year. Statistically speaking, he put together a season for the ages. I mean, a passer rating of 197.75 - who does that?
Even Mayfield would admit, however, that he and the Sooners were sunk without Westbrook. OU's offense didn't take off until its star receiver healed up.
2016 All-Big 12 Team - Defense
DL: Jordan Willis, Kansas State
DL: Vincent Taylor, Oklahoma State
DL: Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas
LB: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
LB: Elijah Lee, Oklahoma State
LB: Jordan Evans, Oklahoma
LB: Travin Howard, TCU
DB: Rasul Douglas, West Virginia
DB: Steven Parker, Oklahoma
DB: Jordan Sterns, Oklahoma State
DB: Fish Smithson, Kansas
DB: Travon Blanchard, Baylor
Def. Player of the Year: Willis
Def. Newcomer of the Year: Reggie Walker, Kansas State
*This was a slog. Defense in this conference probably hit an all-time low this season. That's saying something.
*I took Willis as player of the year over Obo and Douglas. He anchored a defensive line that helped make KSU the top D in the conference from an efficiency standpoint.
*Willis did have plenty of help from the freshman Walker, though.
(Crazy, but not crazy, that Bill Snyder's team won eight games this season.)
*You'll notice a fairly safety-heavy group of defensive backs. The lack of quality cornerbacks might have had something to do with the further degradation of defense in the conference.
*Evans overcame a start to the year that had plenty of Sooner fans calling for his job. Still, no denying that he made big plays down the stretch for OU. He absolutely earned a spot on the first team.