Big Ten Pre-Season Media Poll Does Just What You Thought It Was Gonna Do

Even though the Big Ten coaches collectively chose to abandon making themselves look really stupid every year, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Doug Lesmerises was able to find a couple dozen reporters who were up the task (even though he could have easily snagged a few hundred).  So, what crazy, off-the-wall projections did this band of astute analysts come up with?

Nebraska and Wisconsin will play for the championship, and Nebraska will probably win.  Also, Denard Robinson is the best offensive player while Jared Crick is the best defensive player.

I know, my mind is blown too.

You can check out the full break-down here, but here’s the stuff you care about:  Ohio State got one vote to win the Leaders division and that’s not surprising since everyone assumes that either a) there will be a postseason ban from the NCAA (there won’t) or b) with all the turmoil, they won’t be able to compete at the same level (not unrealistic).  Still, the Buckeyes land the #2 spot, which should make Penn State feel really bad about themselves.

Michigan checks in at #4 in the Legends division, edging out Northwestern by a couple of votes.  That’s probably about right, although I might go with the Wildcats to make some noise over there this year.

Seventeen writers picked a Nebraska/Wisconsin title game, with 10 votes going to the Huskers to win it all in their first year.  I’m surprised that 71% of the pollsters did not even bother to look at Nebraska’s schedule.  There are two 3-game stretches that stick out to me and I’m going to go ahead and predict that Big Red goes 2-1 at best in both of those.

The first is @Wyoming, @Wisconsin, vs. Ohio State.  Going on the road is always a challenge and it will be nearly impossible for Nebraska to not overlook Wyoming even though this one should be a sure win.  But following that up with another road trip against a brutal and physical opponent that is predicted to win their division is about all you can ask of a team.  Unless, of course, you ask them to come home the next week to play another brutal and physical opponent that is expected to be just a notch below Wisconsin.  If the Huskers win all three of these games, then they’re my pick for National Champs.

Well, if they can also manage to navigate the season-ending @Penn State, @Michigan, vs. Iowa, that is.  Again, two consecutive road games in a stretch of at least decent opponents (who knows where the Wolverines will be at that point, but they’ll either be riding high or desperate to get to a bowl).  Again, I just don’t see how a team can pull off all six of these games without being the best team in the nation.

The only other Legends team selected in the poll was Michigan State.

As for the Leaders, Ohio State and Penn State each picked up a vote, but only to be chosen to get beat by Nebraska.  It’s Badgers Or Bust for these writers I guess.  Wisconsin’s schedule is a little lighter competition-wise than Nebraska’s, but the Badgers will be playing 4 of their last 6 games on the road, kicking off with a back-to-back of @Michigan State and @Ohio State.  This could be a spot for them to stumble, but a one-loss season (or better) is not out of the question.

I don’t have any major problems with the player selections, as Pryor’s departure and the remaining suspensions basically knocked us out of the running on the offensive side of the ball.  Brewster does check in at #9 on that list.  Defensively, John Simon lands the #6 spot and Nate Williams takes #9.

As with any pre-season poll, it’s totally meaningless, but hey, at least it’s not a scandal post.

Comments

  1. Great point about Nebraska’s schedule, those are two pretty tough stretches. And we’ve all seen Nebraska lose focus before. It could happen again.

    I also think people are underestimating the revenge factor with the Wisconsin/OSU game. If it comes down to it, that could be the deciding game for the Leaders division.

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