QB – Brett Basanez, Northwestern: I know I'll probably get hammered for this pick, especially after the way the Wildcats QB cried like a baby after the Iowa game. However, if you consider his performance against a Hawkeye defense that really was coming into its own at the time, you see why Basanez gets the nod.
Basanez tossed 15 touchdowns against six interceptions with a 63.6 completion percentage in conference play. He averaged 301.1 yards per game in league.
I know what you're thinking. Iowa's Drew Tate compiled a 15-5 TD-INT ration in the Big Ten. Yes, but Northwestern played PSU, OSU and Michigan. Iowa missed the Nittany Lions and their staunch defense. That decided it for me.
RB – Albert Young, Iowa: The sophomore was the lone back to rush for over 1,000 yards in conference play. Young averaged a league-best 125.2 yards per game. After gaining just 25 yards on 10 carries at OSU to start the Big Ten season, the New Jersey native ran for at least 100 yards in each of the last seven conference games.
RB – Laurence Maroney, Minnesota: Yeah, he missed most of the final two games with an ankle injury, but he still managed to average 124.9 yards in the Big Ten. He gained 129 at Michigan and 127 against Ohio State. That's enough for me.
WR – Dorien Bryant, Purdue: This wasn't the best year for receivers in the Big Ten, but Bryant proved consistent from start to finish. The sophomore paced the conference in receptions per game (6.62) and ranked third in yards per game (85.1).
WR – James Hardy, Indiana: I'm sure he won't get this spot when the coaches and media vote, but he is the best receiver in the Big Ten. Hardy ranked second in yards per game (89.6), second in TD receptions (7) and fourth in receptions per game (6.29).
C – Greg Eslinger, Minnesota: Yeah, he struggled in Iowa City over the weekend, but you have to give credit to the anchor of a line that came into Kinnick leading the nation in rushing. This former walk-on dominated the line of scrimmage for the last three years more often than not, and should be cashing a big paycheck in the league next season.
G – Mark Setterstrom, Minnesota: He is the other main cog in the Golden Gophers' prolific offensive attack. Maybe Glen Mason should have considered using his O-line studs as two-way players.
G – Matt Lentz, Michigan: The Wolverines missed having Michael Hart for much of the season, but their offense improved greatly as the season advanced. Lentz missed some time early, but proved to be the top player on a pretty good offensive front.
T – Joe Thomas, Wisconsin: When Brian Calhoun ran for big yardage, Thomas usually paved the way. The massive LT (6-8, 295) could return for his senior year, but also could land in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
T – Zach Strief, Northwestern: A very underrated blocker with good feet and hands. Northwestern scored a lot of points this season, and Strief played a big role in getting that accomplished.
TE – Scott Chandler, Iowa: The true junior led the Hawkeyes in receptions with 40 and ranked second in yards with 463.
K – Kyle Schlicher, Iowa: The Hawkeyes' kicker owned the best field goal percentage in conference games and overall. He also tied for the longest field goal of the year among conference PKs with a 52-yarder. He missed just one extra point.
QB – Drew Tate, Iowa.
RB – Brian Calhoun, Wisconsin.
RB – Tyrell Sutton, Northwestern
WR – Brandon Williams, Wisconsin
WR – Santonio Holmes, Ohio State
C – Nick Mangold, Ohio State.
G – Donovan Raiola, Wisconsin
T - Adam Stenavich, Michigan.
TE – Matt Spaeth, Minnesota
K – Josh Huston, Ohio State
E – Tamba Hali, Penn State: He's not the biggest guy in the world, but the Nittany Lion end creates havoc. The senior ranked first in sacks (8.5) and second in tackles for loss (14.5) in conference play.
T – Jay Alford, Penn State: The junior played Mr. Inside to Hali's Mr. Outside. It looked a lot like a Roth-Babineaux setup. Alford ranked third in conference play with 6.0 sacks.
T – Gabe Watson, Michigan: Big Gabe produced seven tackles for loss and three sacks, overall. He played a key roll in helping the Wolverines rank fourth in the conference against the run.
E – Rob Ninkovich, Purdue: The Boilermakers were expected to boast a much tougher defense, but it wasn't this guy's fault they underachieved. The senior ranked second in sacks (7.0) and first in tackles for loss (15.0) in conference play.
LB – A.J. Hawk, Ohio State: The Buckeyes leader won the Butkus Award last year and likely will take it home again. Although he ranked fifth in tackles behind other Big Ten LBs in conference play, teams stayed away from him and the Bucks boast a tough defensive front and other playmakers on a great D.
LB – Paul Posluszny, Penn State: The Nittany Lions tackling machine joins Hawk as one of three Butkus finalists. He ranked fourth in conference tackles with 10.6 a game.
CB – Alan Zemaitis, Penn State: You could have easily picked his teammate Anwar Phillips in this spot, but the Z man enjoyed a slightly better year perhaps because they were throwing away from Phillips.
CB- Ashton Youboty, Ohio State: After being thrust into the starting lineup by injury a year ago, Youboty returned as one of the top shutdown corners in the country this season. He ranked fourth on Buckeyes in tackles.
FS – Chris Harrell, Penn State: The Nittany Lion safety ranked 14th in the conference at 67 tackles during league play. He ranked second behind Posluszny for overall stops on the team.
SS – Donte Witner, Ohio State: This junior might not receive the notoriety of his teammates, but proved he was an all-around talent this season. He posted four sacks and two interceptions to show his versatility.
P – Ken DeBauche, Wisconsin: Badger led the conference with a 44.4 yard average.
E - Victor Adeyanju, Indiana
T – Marcus Green, Ohio State
T – Brandon Villarreal, Purdue
E – LeMarr Woodley, Michigan
LB – Chad Greenway, Iowa
LB – Tim McGarigle, Northwestern
LB – Dan Connor, Penn State
CB – Anwar Phillips, Penn State
CB – Leon Hall, Michigan
FS – Nate Salley, Ohio State
SS – Eric Smith, Michigan State