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Monday, May 16, 2011
Reaction to Big Ten polling, Part I

By Adam Rittenberg

I hope you enjoyed all the polls on Thursday and Friday. They're an exciting new feature on the blog and will appear more in the future. It's a great way to gauge how Big Ten fans are thinking.

Although I'm limited to five options -- and many of you were ticked at the ones I chose -- I'll keep trying to give the best sampling for each given topic.

There were some interesting things that stood out about both days of polling. Let’s start with the Thursday polls, which were …
The "Most Improved" vote was interesting. Clearly, Nebraska fans are reading the blog as quarterback Taylor Martinez received the most votes, ahead of Penn State running back Silas Redd and Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase. While Martinez could be dangerous if he stays healthy, my pick is Scheelhaase, who should build off of a solid freshman season and become more of a complete quarterback.

The Big Ten had six players selected in the first round of the NFL draft, but you went with Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor as the toughest player to replace. It can be attributed in part to the lack of proven depth behind Pryor. I'm a little surprised Illinois' Corey Liuget didn't get more votes. The Illini will really miss Liuget on the interior. I took some heat for including Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien among the choices, but his value to last year's team cannot be overstated. He was the difference between an 8- or 9-win team and a Rose Bowl participant.

Although Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is adjusting to a new offensive system, most of you think he'll repeat as Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa finished a distant second, followed by Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins. Robinson certainly has the ability and the name recognition to win the award again, although no Big Ten offensive player has done so since Indiana running back Anthony Thompson (1988-89).

You affirmed your belief in Robinson by selecting him as the Big Ten's top impact performer, ahead of Nebraska defensive tackle Jared Crick, Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde and Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa. Hyde certainly made an impact when he was on the field last fall. Persa is another guy who really shapes games.

Nebraska hasn't played a game as a member of the Big Ten, but I wouldn't be surprised if a Huskers player is named preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Not only does the Big Ten lose a bunch of decorated defenders to the NFL, but the Blackshirts also return several established stars. You seem to agree as Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David and Crick received the most votes, followed by Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy.

I'll have reaction on Friday's poll posts a little later today, so stay tuned.