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Phil Steele's 2013 Preseason All-Big Ten Team: 3 Badgers make 1st team

The football magazine guru has released his preseason all-confererence team, as well as Wisconsin's initial ranking.

Mark Cunningham

Phil Steele, aka "The Oracle" for his reliably accurate and informative college football magazines, released his 2013 preseason All-Big Ten team Monday morning. Three Badgers made the first team, including wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, tight end Jacob Pedersen and linebacker Chris Borland. In total, 12 Badgers were listed.

Related to Wisconsin, the most interesting selection to me is Melvin Gordon on the second team, ahead of James White. We've spent plenty of time discussing what 2013 might hold for the Badgers' two wildly talented running backs, and arguments have been made for both to be the No. 1 back. We've had White ahead of Gordon on our projected depth chart for this season since the spring started, though 1) that can obviously change by the fall and 2) the division of touches certainly isn't tied to the depth chart.

Some might argue that for all the praise writers have heaped on Wisconsin's ability to generate another dynamic one-two punch in the backfield -- Tom Dienhart of recently tabbed the Badgers' running backs as the conference's top unit at the position, for instance -- either White or Gordon deserves to be a first-teamer. It's especially startling seeing a Northwestern running back get the nod over a Wisconsin back or, well, anyone else, and there's another talented second-team back in Ohio State's Carlos Hyde, too. I might put White or Gordon on the first team next to Abdullah, though Mark does have the numbers to support his case.

The rest of Steele's team seems relatively fair to the Badgers, as he rightfully highlights Abbrederis, Pedersen and Borland. Expect to seem Pedersen's name in particular mentioned throughout the summer as a viable breakout candidate among the nation's top tight ends. While none of Wisconsin's relatively young, unproven offensive linemen make the first team, guard Kyle Costigan and tackle Ryan Havenstein get second-team honors. I would've put guard Ryan Groy there as well for his proven versatility, for what it's worth.

Defensively, tackle Beau Allen gets rightfully-deserved second-team props. Safety Dezmen Southward is a third-team safety and you could fairly argue for a promotion. On the fourth team, end Ethan Hemer and linebacker Ethan Armstrong round things out for Wisconsin.

Again, this is just one writer's stab at an exercise that is generally meaningless. That said, did the Badgers get a fair shake here?

Steele's magazine is probably the best among preseason magazines, though, and it's a fantastic read for college football buffs of all ages and levels of fandom. The 2013 issue will go on sale June 18 at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, CVS, Publix, Target, Walgreens and Walmart.

1st TEAM 2nd TEAM 3rd TEAM 4th TEAM
QB Braxton Miller, Ohio St Taylor Martinez, Nebraska Devin Gardner, Michigan Kain Colter, Northwestern
RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin James White, Wisconsin Mark Weisman, Iowa
RB Venric Mark, Northwestern Carlos Hyde, Ohio St Zach Zwinak, Penn St Derrick Green, Michigan
WR Allen Robinson, Penn St Jeremy Gallon, Michigan Kofi Hughes, Indiana Quincy Enunwa, Nebraska
WR Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin Devin Smith, Ohio St Aaron Burbridge, Michigan St Shane Wynn, Indiana
WR Kenny Bell, Nebraska Cody Latimer, Indiana Corey Brown, Ohio St (TE) Ted Bolser, Indiana
TE Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin CJ Fiedorowicz, Iowa Kyle Carter, Penn St Devin Funchess, Michigan
C Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern Corey Linsley, Ohio St Travis Jackson, Michigan St Austin Blythe, Iowa
OG Spencer Long, Nebraska John Urschel, Penn St Marcus Hall, Ohio St Dan Feeney, Indiana
OG Andrew Norwell, Ohio St Kyle Costigan, Wisconsin Jack Allen, Michigan St Zac Epping, Minnesota
OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan Jeremiah Sirles, Nebraska Ryan Groy, Wisconsin Fou Fonoti, Michigan St
OT Jack Mewhort, Ohio St Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin Brandon Scherff, Iowa Michael Schofield, Michigan
1st TEAM 2nd TEAM 3rd TEAM 4th TEAM
DE Marcus Rush, Michigan St Adolphus Washington, OSU Frank Clark, Michigan Ethan Hemer, Wisconsin
DT Bruce Gaston, Purdue Beau Allen, Wisconsin DaQuan Jones, Penn St Lawrence Thomas, Mich St
DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Minnesota Carl Davis, Iowa Quinton Washington, Michigan Austin Johnson, Penn St
DE Tyler Scott, Northwestern Deion Barnes, Penn St Jason Ankrah, Nebraska Noah Spence, Ohio St
LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio St Glenn Carson, Penn St Chi Chi Ariguzo, Northwestern Christian Kirksey, Iowa
LB Max Bullough, Michigan St James Morris, Iowa Mike Hull, Penn St Ethan Armstrong, Wisconsin
LB Chris Borland, Wisconsin Denicos Allen, Michigan St Desmond Morgan, Michigan Mason Monheim, Illinois
LB Jonathan Brown, Illinois Curtis Grant, Ohio St Anthony Hitchens, Iowa Damien Proby, Northwestern
CB Bradley Roby, Ohio St Ciante Evans, Nebraska Nick VanHoose, Northwestern Andrew Green, Nebraska
CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan St Ricardo Allen, Purdue Adrian Amos, Penn St Derrick Wells, Minnesota
S Isaiah Lewis, Michigan St CJ Barnett, Ohio St Greg Heban, Indiana Malcolm Willis, Penn St
S Christian Bryant, Ohio St Ibraheim Campbell, NW Dezmen Southward, Wisc Thomas Gordon, Michigan
1st TEAM 2nd TEAM 3rd TEAM 4th TEAM
K Jeff Budzien, Northwestern Brendan Gibbons, Michigan Mike Meyer, Iowa Drew Basil, Ohio St
P Mike Sadler, Michigan St Justin DuVernois, Illinois Drew Meyer, Wisconsin Cody Webster, Purdue
KR Jordan Cotton, Iowa Dennis Norfleet, Michigan Tevin Coleman, Indiana Akeem Hunt, Purdue
PR Venric Mark, Northwestern Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska Corey Brown (WR), Ohio St Jesse Della Valle, Penn St