The Big Ten, for whatever reason, does not issue an official preseason predicted order of finish like just about every other league. Luckily, we've got Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com to pick up the slack.
Lesmerises once again has organized an unofficial poll of league beat writers, and the panel of 29 media members have tabbed Ohio State and Wisconsin to win their respective divisions.
Nineteen of the 29 voters picked Ohio State to win the Big Ten title, with nine votes going to Michigan State and one to Nebraska. The West Division breakdown was scattered, as Wisconsin led with 14 votes, but Iowa, Nebraska and Northwestern all received support.
The complete breakdown:
- 195 points (23 first-place votes)
- 180 points (10)
- 136 points
- 105.5 points
- 84 points
- 78.5 points
- 33 points
- 183.5 points (15 first-place votes)
Iowa, 173 points (11)
- 157.5 points (5)
- 112 points (1)
- 96.5 points
- 58 points
- 31.5 points
(Note that there are more than 29 first-place votes in the divisions because of ties)
As has been the case in many preseason publications, Ohio State is a pretty heavy favorite despite Michigan State's success last year. It's interesting, given all the youth on the Buckeyes. Definitely motivational material here for the Spartans. ... Wisconsin has also gotten a lot of hype this offseason in spite of heavy personnel losses and questions in the passing game. Voters obviously like the schedules for both the Badgers and Iowa over Nebraska, which has to play in both Madison and Iowa City. ... Some voters likes a dark horse, picking Northwestern to win the West. The Wildcats do pose an outside threat. ... Not a lot is expected of newcomers Maryland and Rutgers, though the voters like the Terps a good bit more as the Scarlet Knights are picked to finish dead last in the East. ... If you don't like these results, take heart: Not a single writer picked Michigan State to win the Big Ten championship in this same poll a year ago.