The first Associated Press Top 25 of the 2012 season is out, and it is pretty similar to the coaches' poll, with a few key differences.
Michigan again leads the way among Big Ten teams, checking in at No. 8 -- the same ranking the Wolverines have in the USA Today coaches' poll. But one voter really likes Michigan, as the Maize and Blue got one first-place vote. Only four other teams -- No. 1 USC, No. 2 Alabama, No, 3 LSU and No. 4 Oklahoma -- received first-place votes in the AP Top 25.
That voter is Illinois beat writer Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette, who has written this offseason that he would vote Michigan No. 1. I can't see the justification for such a ranking given the Wolverines' personnel losses on the defensive line. But maybe Asmussen is a soothsayer. At least he's keeping things in the Big Ten family.
Just as in the coaches' poll, Wisconsin and Michigan State are No.s 12 and 13, respectively. Isn't it odd how two different groups of voters can come up with the same rankings? Anyway, Adam and I continue to think the Spartans are ranked far too low. But they'll get a chance right away to make a statement in the opener against No. 24 Boise State.
Nebraska comes in at No. 17, one spot lower than where it ranks among the coaches. The big difference between the two polls is that Ohio State, which is on probation, is eligible for the AP poll. And the AP votes put the Buckeyes No. 18, a sign of respect for Urban Meyer as he inherits a team that went just 6-7 last year.
No other Big Ten team received votes in the poll.