The Big Ten conference office stopped producing a preseason poll more than a decade ago, leading league media members to start one of their own. That’s the origin story of the Cleveland.com poll, considered the unofficially official Big Ten preseason predictor.
And on the eve of Big Ten media days, it is here once again.
This year, the 34-member voting panel picked Indiana to finish third in the Big Ten East, just behind league favorite Ohio State and second-place Penn State, and just ahead of fourth-place Michigan. According to poll organizer Nathan Baird, an Ohio State beat writer for Cleveland.com, 23 voters slotted Penn State in second place against the 11 who did so for IU. So there’s at least some belief that the Hoosiers could repeat as the No. 2 team in the division this fall.
Ohio State was the unanimous favorite to win the East and the conference championship, with 29 voters picking the Buckeyes to beat the Badgers in the title game. Five voters predicted an Ohio State victory over Iowa in the finale. In the first 10 Cleveland.com polls, voters picked the eventual league champion three times.
Here’s the full breakdown of both divisions:
1. Ohio State (34 first-place votes) 238
2. Penn State 192
3. Indiana 169
4. Michigan 144
5. Maryland 79
6. Rutgers 77.5
7. Michigan State 52.5
1. Wisconsin (29 first-place votes) 233 points
2. Iowa (5) 202
3. Northwestern 160
4. Minnesota 146
5. Nebraska 91.5
6. Purdue 72.5
7. Illinois 47