MADISON - Seemingly every conference in the country organizes a preseason media poll to predict who will win their league. The Big Ten does not. So for a fourth straight year the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com organized a poll made up of 29 media members that cover the conference, and on Friday morning unveiled their choices.
The University of Wisconsin is the favorite to win the new West Division. They picked up 15 first-place votes, followed by nine for Iowa, five for Nebraska and one for Northwestern.
In the loaded East Division, Ohio State garnered 23 first-place votes, with Michigan State grabbing 10 to finish second.
In the Big Ten Championship game, the Buckeyes were picked 19 times, the Spartans nine times and Nebraska was chosen as the winner once.
Meanwhile, the voters also picked their preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Ohio State’s Braxton Miller has won the award the past two seasons, and is an overwhelming favorite to win it for a third time. He got 21 votes, with Badgers’ running back Melvin Gordon garnering five votes, Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah bringing in two votes and Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg getting one.
The group also voted on who will be the Defensive Player of the Year, with Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun getting the nod with 13 votes. Nebraska defensive end was second with 10 votes, followed by Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett with four, Buckeyes defensive end Joey Bosa with one and Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan also getting one.
The full breakdown of voting comes directly from Cleveland.com:
*note: There are more than 29 first-place votes due to ties
1. Ohio State, 195 points (23 first-place votes)
2. Michigan State, 180 points (10)
3. Michigan, 136 points
4. Penn State, 105.5 points
5. Maryland, 84 points
6. Indiana, 78.5 points
7. Rutgers, 33 points
1. Wisconsin, 183.5 points (15 first-place votes)
2. Iowa, 173 points (11)
3. Nebraska, 157.5 points (5)
4. Northwestern, 112 points (1)
5. Minnesota, 96.5 points
6. Illinois, 58 points
7. Purdue, 31.5 points
Picks to win Big Ten Championship
Ohio State 19
Michigan State 9
Big Ten title game matchup predictions
Ohio State over Wisconsin, 12
Michigan State over Iowa, 5
Ohio State over Iowa, 4
Ohio State over Nebraska, 3
Michigan State over Wisconsin, 2
Michigan State over Nebraska, 1
Michigan State over Northwestern, 1
Nebraska over Ohio State, 1
Big Ten Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Award
1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State QB (21)
2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin RB (5)
3. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska RB (2)
4. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State QB (1)
Preseason vote for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
1. Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State (13)
2. Randy Gregory, Nebraska (10)
3. Michael Bennett, Ohio State (4)
4. Joey Bosa, Ohio State (1)
4. Jake Ryan, Michigan (1)