Published November 19, 2012
One of the downsides of covering a team in the best FCS conference in the country (the Missouri Valley), rather than one of the two worst FBS conferences in the country (the Mid-American Conference) is when you go to fill out your all-conference ballot, the average YSU fan doesn't really care.
For instance, MAC East champion Kent State has more than 50 Ohioans on its roster, so even if I didn't vote for a Youngstown native from Kent State, there's a chance a Penguin fan would have seen (or heard of) one of the other picks.
(For the record, I would have voted for Kent State's Luke Wollet at safety, a Poland native, but you get what I'm saying.)
The same is true with several other teams in the MAC, which has six Ohio schools and a bevy of players from the Buckeye state. (And, presumably, none from any states ending in the word "Dakota.")
I'm not saying YSU should join the MAC — I think it's a bad fit financially — just pointing out the obvious. Outside of (maybe) Indiana State running back Shakir Bell, how many non-YSU players can the average YSU fan name from the MVFC?
Heck, I seriously doubt I could name more than two dozen off the top of my head and I covered all but two of the Penguins' conference games. (The other two I watched on TV.)
That said, my all-MVFC ballot was due today and since I'm a big fan of transparency (I think it's ridiculous that college football coaches don't have to reveal their top 25 ballots until the end of the year), I'll print it below.
Before I do, here's a couple notes:
1. All-league voting is based on the recommendations of the league's coaches. Each coach can only nominate a certain number of players and the nomination comes with statistics to back it up. If a coach nominates more than one player at a position (like offensive line), he'll rank them. From there, it's up to us voters to sort them out.
Here's what YSU DT Aronde Stanton's recommendation looks like:
#52 DT Aronde Stanton, YSU, 6-2, 280, Sr., Detroit, Mich. (MLK/Grand Rapids CC/Northwood) [Coach Rank: 1]
Led the team with 7.5 tackles for losses and was second with four sacks...posted 37 total tackles, including 21 solo stops...all of his TFLs and sacks came in league play...had 30 tackles, including 17 solos in league play...returned a fumbled interception 16 yards for a touchdown at South Dakota State...had a season-high 10 tackles, including seven solo stops against the Salukis... had sacks against SIU, South Dakota State and South Dakota...had six tackles in victory over Albany...YSU rush defense allowed under 100 yards per game for first time since 1994.
2. As the YSU beat writer, I am not allowed to vote for any Penguins. The exception is with coach of the year, but I gave that vote to South Dakota State's John Stiegelmeier.
3. Had I been allowed to vote for YSU players, I would have chosen RB Jamaine Cook, OG Chris Elkins and Stanton for the first team and TE Will Shaw and OG Lamar Mady for the second team.
4. Other YSU players who were nominated include QB Kurt Hess, DT Nick DeKraker, LBs Travis and Teven Williams and P Nick Liste.
5. There were three YSU nominees for the all-newcomer team: OT Kyle Bryant and CBs Julius Childs and Dale Peterman.
I would have voted for Peterman, but the other two are solid nominees.
6. In Youngstown, Wolford also votes for all-conference, as does radio play-by-play man Bob Hannon and YSU sports information director Trevor Parks.
7. If you are still reading at this point, man, you're a real fan.
Here's the ballot I turned in. I'm listing the first-team only because, really, who cares who I voted for the second team?
Quarterback: Matt Brown, Illinois State
Running backs: Shakir Bell, Indiana State; Zach Zenner, South Dakota State
Fullback: Jordan Neukirch, Illinois State
Wide receivers: Tyrone Walker, Illinois State; Will Powell, South Dakota
Tight end: MyCole Pruitt, Southern Illinois
Offensive line: Billy Turner, North Dakota State; Bryan Witzmann, South Dakota State; Casey Paswater, Indiana State; Pete Cary, Illinois State; Joe Lund, North Dakota State
Defensive line: Ben Obaseki, Indiana State; Colton Underwood, Illinois State; Ken Boatwright, Southern Illinois; Doug Peete, South Dakota State
Linebackers: Aaron Archie, Indiana State; Ross Shafrath, South Dakota State; Mike Zimmer, Illinois State; Grant Olson, North Dakota State
Defensive backs: Marcus Williams, North Dakota State; Ben Ericksen, Illinois State; Wilmot Wellington, UNI; Johnny Towalid, Indiana State
Kicker: Tyler Sievertsen, UNI
Punter: Cole Zwiefelhofer, South Dakota
Return specialist: Carlos Anderson, UNI
Offensive player of the year: Matt Brown, Illinois State
Defensive player of the year: Marcus Williams, North Dakota State
Coach of the year: John Stiegelmeier, South Dakota State
Freshman of the year: QB Sawyer Kollmorgen, UNI
All-newcomer team: If you care about how I voted in this category, please, please, please make better use of your time. Learn French. Take a cooking class. Watch an episode of The Simpsons, provided it's from the first eight seasons. Those ones are the best.