Yesterday, our staff hit on some of the big preseason questions relating specifically to Ohio State. Today, we break down the Big Ten itself.
Predicted order of finish in the Big Ten
A first place vote gets seven points, a second place vote gets six, etc. 15 of our staff voted in this poll.
Ohio State: 105 points (unanimous first place)
Michigan State: 90 points (unanimous second place)
Michigan: 71 points
Penn State: 56 points
Maryland: 43 points
Indiana: 37 points
Rutgers: 18 points
Wisconsin: 92 points, seven first place votes
Nebraska: 86 points, four first place votes
Iowa: 82 points, three first place votes
Northwestern: 58 points
Minnesota: 52 points, one first place vote
Illinois: 33 votes
Purdue: 16 points
A lot to unpack here. Rutgers and Purdue were near unanimous last place votes (Luke voted Rutgers 4th and Charles voted them 6th; AJ voted Purdue 6th), but other than Ohio State and Michigan State at 1-2 in the East, our team didn't agree on much.
The last four teams in the East appeared in virtually every order on at least one ballot, and four different teams got first place votes in the West. There seems to be some consensus on who the bottom two teams are in the West, but almost any other combination of Wisconsin through Minnesota, at least in the eyes of our staff, seems possible.
What Big Ten team is most likely to surpass expectations this year?
Iowa: 5 votes
Michigan: 3 votes
Rutgers: 2 votes
Penn State: 2 votes
Wisconsin: 1 vote
Indiana: 1 vote
Maryland: 1 vote
Answers were all over the place here, but Iowa got the most votes, thanks to a very advantageous schedule, and some returning talent all over the ball. This is a bit of a paradox though, since Iowa seems to be the best in years when nobody is actually expecting anything. Is this some deep, next level trolling on Iowa? HOW DEEP DOES IT GO?
Michigan, with a roster lined with four-stars, and Penn State, with a stud QB and a new hotshot coach, also got some love.
Who in the Big Ten is most likely to wildly disappoint?
Penn State: 6 votes
Rutgers: 2 votes
Michigan: 2 votes
Wisconsin: 2 votes
Nebraska: 2 votes
Michigan State: 2 votes
Maryland: 1 vote
Penn State's got a great coach and what should be a great quarterback, but with depth issues all over the roster, youth at wide receiver, and serious, glaring questions along the offensive line, it isn't a mystery why a lot of our writers tabbed Penn State as a team that could be a risk for disappointing this season.
Concerns about Michigan State's consistency and ability to stave off injuries, Michigan's ability to cobble together anything resembling a line, and Wisconsin's QB situation also made the list.
Who is your Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year?
Basically everybody: Braxton Miller
Jeremy Langford: 1 vote
I appreciate that one voter was willing to go outside the box with a preseason prediction #hot #take, but with Miller being the defending champ, with a stable of speedy toys, and without a 1,200 yard rusher out of the box, it seems probable that if Miller can stay healthy, he's going to be the heavy favorite for this award.
Who is your Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year?
Randy Gregory: 6 votes
Shilique Calhoun: 3 votes
Michael Bennett: 2 votes
Joey Bosa: 2 votes
There is a ton of talent on Ohio State's defensive line, and in Michigan State's secondary, but when you are being talked about as a possible Top 5 (or even top overall) NFL draft pick, people are going to notice. Accordingly Nebraska pass rusher Randy Gregory tops the list. This should be a much more compelling and interesting race than the Offensive POTY though.
Which Big Ten player that nobody is talking about will have a monster season?
Corey Clement: 2 votes
Nate Sudfeld: 2 votes
Connor Cook: 2 votes
Tevin Coleman: 1 votes
Brandon Scherff: 1 votes
Jabrill Peppers: 1 vote
Jake Rudock: 1 vote
Jehu Chesson: 1 vote
Devin Gardner: 1 vote
Stefon Diggs: 1 vote
Paul James: 1 vote
Tons of disagreement here for this question, as well as a pretty liberal interpretation of "nobody is talking about" with Peppers and Diggs. Still, if you're looking for a guy to put up monster numbers, Clement at Wisconsin and Sudfeld at Indiana are absolutely excellent choices, and the much maligned Cook had a very solid end of the year for Michigan State, and the Spartans should contend again this season.
We'll have a look at national college football soon. Anything we missed? What were we totally wrong about? Let us know in the comments.