According to a preseason poll taken from a sampling of Big Ten media members, Ohio State is a runaway pick to win the conference title and the Legends Division is believed to be a tossup between Nebraska and Michigan.
The Wolverines just edged the Huskers in an informal media poll compiled by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. In a poll of 26 voters, Michigan and the Huskers both received 14 first-place votes (voters could pick ties), with Michigan State receiving four top votes.
Michigan accumulated 135 1/2 points in the poll, just three points more than the Huskers. Michigan State was third with 101 1/2 points. Northwestern was fourth with 95 1/2. Iowa came in fifth and then Minnesota.
While the Wolverines received more poll points, it was a tie in the number of voters who picked the Huskers and Michigan to get to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship.
Twelve voters picked Ohio State over Nebraska as the league championship game scenario. Eleven picked OSU to beat Michigan there. Two picked the Buckeyes to beat MSU.
And there was one voter -- the lone voter to not pick Ohio State as the conference champ -- who had Michigan over the Buckeyes in Indy.
While the Big Ten no longer has a formal media poll, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has conducted its own preseason poll since 2011, gathering the opinions of two beat writers covering each team, along with two league-wide writers from ESPN.com. (The Journal Star was represented by one voter in the poll.)
The poll has not had a great success rate the past two years. The media did not pick the correct conference champ in 2011 or 2012 and has called only one of the four division champs since then.
The Huskers were picked as Legends champs in 2011. Michigan State won it. They were picked third a year ago when they finished first.
Given that, perhaps Indiana shouldn't relax too much at being predicted as the most likely team to surprise this year, receiving 13 of 26 votes.
Michigan State received the most votes (6) for the team most likely to disappoint. Michigan was right on the Spartans' heels, receiving just one less vote in that category. The Huskers received three votes as most likely to disappoint.
Here's the full results of this year's poll with the number of votes in each category in parenthesis:
1. Ohio State 155.5 points (26)
2. Wisconsin 128 (1)
3. Penn State 104
4. Indiana 74.5
5. Purdue 52.5
6. Illinois 31.5
1. Michigan 135.5 (14)
2. Nebraska 132.5 (14)
3. Michigan State 101.5 (4)
4. Northwestern 95.5
5. Iowa 43
6. Minnesota 38
Big Ten team that will be most disappointing this season
1. Michigan State (6)
2. Michigan (5)
T3. Northwestern (4)
T3. Iowa (4)
5. Nebraska (3)
6. Penn State (2)
T7. Minnesota (1)
T7. Wisconsin (1)
Big Ten team that will be the most surprising this season
1. Indiana (13)
2. Northwestern (6)
3. Michigan State (2)
4. Purdue (2)
T5. Iowa (1)
T5. Wisconsin (1)
T5. Minnesota (1)
Big Ten Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State, (24)
T2. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska, (1)
T2. Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan, (1)
Big Ten Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
1. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State (16)
2. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin (4)
3. Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State (3)
4. Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State (2)
5. Tyler Scott, DL, Northwestern (1)
1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State 71 points (21 first-place votes)
2. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern 44 (4)
3. Bill O'Brien, Penn State 15 (1)
4. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State 10
5. Brady Hoke, Michigan 9
6. Bo Pelini, Nebraska 2