Posted by Adam Jacobi
The preseason USA Today Coaches Poll came out Thursday, and as usual, several Big Ten teams are involved. Here are the conference's represented programs:
16. Ohio State
17. Michigan State
25. Penn State
ALSO RECEIVING VOTES
30. Iowa (41 votes)
31. Northwestern (30 votes)
33. Michigan (19 votes)
Few quick notes:
There's been a pretty clear consensus that Wisconsin and Nebraska are the top teams in their respective divisions, so it's not much of a shocker to see both teams lead the conference pack. If anything, it'd be nice to see both ranked higher; would you really take Texas A&M and Oklahoma State over Nebraska and Wisconsin this year?
If Michigan State wins at Notre Dame and Ohio State fends off Miami (both pretty big ifs, to be sure), the MSU-OSU clash on October 1 could be a Top Ten affair. It'll also be the final Buckeyes' final game without their four suspended stars, which probably means more to the team than what its ranking's going to be. Either way, someone's coming out of that game with a ton of momentum for the rest of the Big Ten schedule. If that winning team is Ohio State, Wisconsin should start getting nervous.
Penn State hosts Alabama in Week 2. Suffice it to say, the Nittany Lions are either dropping out of the poll or rocketing up the ranks very quickly.
The balance of power in college football ebbs and flows pretty sharply, but this business with five of the six Legends Division members getting preseason votes seems like more the rule than an anomaly -- especially if Pat Fitzgerald sticks around at Northwestern. If Jerry Kill gets the Gophers' act together too, that division might turn into the toughest top-to-bottom in all of college football.