Posted on: August 4, 2011 1:27 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2011 1:58 pm
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.
Tags: 2011 Coaches Poll, 2011 Preseason Polls, Adam Jacobi, Alabama, Big Ten, Coaches Poll, Iowa, Jerry Kill, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Pat Fitzgerald, Penn State, Polls, Preseason Coaches Poll, Preseason Polls, Texas A&M, Wisconsin
Posted on: July 26, 2011 6:15 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Coming into this year's media gathering, the Big Ten decided not to hold its annual media poll with the usual preseason player of the year, predicted order of finish (heretofore limited to the top three finishers), and all of that. It seemed odd, but from the Big Ten's perspective, it wasn't exactly a vital aspect of the whole operation.
Funny thing, though; just because the Big Ten isn't holding a poll doesn't mean it's not going to happen. So lo and behold, 24 beat writers from around the conference -- two per school -- got together and held their own poll anyway.
Here's the breakdown from the Detroit Free-Press, listed with the total amount of voting points (six for first, five for second, on down the line) with first-place votes in parenthesis.
1. Nebraska (19) 139
1. Wisconsin (22) 141
Title game matchups:
First of all, there are scant few surprises herein. Nebraska's the class of the conference, Wisconsin's next, and there's a pretty big dropoff after that. That said, whoever decided Michigan was going to win the Legends Division in Brady Hoke's first year -- the rebuilding period right after another rebuilding period -- should stop sending joke ballots and ruining it for the rest of the readers. Another demerit for whoever decided to put somebody below Minnesota, since the Gophers are just a mess right now.
As for the Leaders Divison, no surprises here, aside from a preposterous first-place vote for Penn State. Ohio State would be worth a look here if Terrelle Pryor were still on the five-game suspension, but with Joe Bauserman (or whoever else) under center, the Buckeyes are decidedly inferior to Wisconsin -- so long as Russell Wilson's healthy, anyway.
Speaking of quarterbacks -- this would be the year to celebrate them. The top three offensive players are all QBs, according to voters, and five of the 10 players who received votes were QBs. Here's the breakdown (again, with first-place votes parenthesized):
1. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan (14) 52
Yes, that's two different Wisconsin tailbacks on the list, and at least one will likely be in the top five of voting at the end of the season. As for the leading vote-getter, it's worth pointing out that Robinson's most dangerous weapon is still his feet... and Michigan's planning on limiting his carries this season. Yes, that's a wise move for keeping Robinson healthy, but the more he's standing still in the pocket and throwing, the less he's playing to his strengths. He'll still make it work, in all likelihood, since it's Denard flippin' Robinson we're talking about here, but those gaudy numbers we saw last season may be coming down a bit. Just a bit.
In other voting, Jared Crick dominated defensive player of the year voting, and Bret Bielema was named the top coach in the Big Ten over close runners-up Kirk Ferentz, Bo Pelini, and Pat Fitzgerald (in that order). Crick is a fine choice, and the four coaches who led voting deserved to. One could make a good case for Pat Fitzgerald to be higher, but these are small quibbles; we're not talking about Ron Zook ending up in second place or anything.
Tags: Adam Jacobi, Big Ten, Big Ten Preseason Poll, Bo Pelini, Brady Hoke, Dan Persa, Denard Robinson, Derek Moye, Edwin Baker, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, James White, Jared Crick, Joe Bauserman, Kirk Cousins, Kirk Ferentz, Michigan, Michigan State, Mike Brewster, Montee Ball, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pat Fitzgerald, Penn State, Preseason Polls, Purdue, Ron Zook, Russell Wilson, Taylor Martinez, Terrelle Pryor, Wisconsin