DALLAS -- Picking the top quarterback on the All-Big 12 team was about as difficult as figuring out the South division champion.
But the result was the same: Oklahoma.
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was chosen offensive player of the
year by the 20 voters in balloting conducted by The Associated
Press. But the same group picked Oklahoma's Sam Bradford over McCoy for the prized first-team spot on the all-conference squad released today.
Bradford's victory was by a single point and the details are a
bit mind-numbing, like the BCS formula that vaulted the Sooners
over the Longhorns and into the Big 12 title game.
Meanwhile Texas A&M senior punter Justin Brantly was named to the AP's Big 12 All Conference 1st-team..
Justin averaged nearly 46 yards per kick, his longest of the season was 63 yards and 18 times he pinned the Aggies opponents inside their 20 yard.
This is the third year that Justin has made all conference. His sophomore and junior years, the pride of Sealy, earned 2nd team honors.
- First, the ground rules: AP uses a panel of writers who
regularly cover the Big 12 for newspapers across the conference's
seven states; 10 are based in the Big 12 North, 10 in the South.
Each gets to pick one first-team quarterback and one second-teamer.
The first-team vote is worth two points, the second-team vote is
-Bradford got nine first-team votes, 10 for second team and was
left off one ballot. That's 28.
-McCoy got 10 first-team votes, seven for second teams and was
left off three. That's 27.
Like the Big 12 race, Texas Tech was the spoiler.
Red Raiders quarterback Graham Harrell was the only other
quarterback to get a vote. He picked up four, one for first team
and three for second team. Thus, the race swung on whether the
Harrell supporters picked McCoy or Bradford as their other choice.
Three went with Bradford and one with McCoy.
To emphasize how big of a difference that was, consider that
Bradford and McCoy were both named on 16 ballots. Nine favored
McCoy over Bradford, seven went the other way.
McCoy became the front-runner for this award and many others
after leading Texas past Bradford and Oklahoma in mid-October. His
campaign lost some steam when Harrell and the Red Raiders knocked
off the Longhorns. Around that time, Bradford and the Sooners were
getting on a big roll of their own.
Bradford guided Oklahoma to 60 points in each of its last four
games, including a romp over Texas Tech. Bradford also finished the
season with an NCAA-best 46 touchdowns and 300 yards passing in 10
The Sooners, Longhorns and Red Raiders finished in a three-way
tie atop the Big 12 South. The first four tiebreakers didn't settle
anything, so it went to a fifth option, the BCS rankings. That
favored Oklahoma, sending Bradford and his pals into the conference
title game Saturday against No. 19 Missouri. If the Sooners win
that, they'll be headed to the national championship game, likely
against the winner of the SEC championship game.
Oklahoma will go into the game with a league-best six first-team
all-conference picks, including linebacker Travis Lewis, the only
freshman to make the top squad, and offensive lineman Duke
Robinson, who was first-team last year, too.
Missouri has five first-teamers, as did Texas Tech.
Only three players were unanimous choices: Texas Tech receiver
Michael Crabtree, Oklahoma State running back Kendall Hunter and
Texas defensive lineman Brian Orakpo, who also was the defensive
player of the year. This was Crabtree's second straight season as a
Missouri's Jeremy Maclin was a first-teamer at two spots,
receiver and all-purpose, which accounts for his elusiveness as a
returner. He was a unanimous first-teamer at all-purpose last
season. His teammates Sean Weatherspoon, a linebacker, and kicker
Jeff Wolfert are returning first-teamers. Weatherspoon is the only
defensive player back from last year's first team.
Iowa State, Kansas State and Colorado didn't have any
first-teamers. Just as notable, Oklahoma State and Baylor each had
three; that's two more than Texas, which placed only Orakpo on the
first team. Kansas had two picks, while Nebraska and Texas A&M each
There was one tweak to this year's balloting: Three first-team
receivers and only one running back, instead of two of each. The
change was made to better reflect the kind of offenses used in the