The team that beat Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship last year and returns more starters than Ohio State is predicted to finish second to Ohio State in the Big Ten this year as they join the same division. How does that make sense?
Although the Big Ten does not have its own preseason media poll, an article on cleveland.com has reported that a poll of Big Ten writers gave the nod to the Buckeyes to win the division. Although it may not be in the Big Ten championship game this year, voters think that the Michigan State-Ohio State game could decide the Big Ten East. Ohio State received 195 points and 23 first-place votes, and Michigan State received 180 points and 10 first place votes. Michigan is picked to finish third, and Penn State is picked to finish fourth.
In the West, Wisconsin is the favorite with 183.5 points and 15 first place votes, followed by Iowa with 173 points and 11 first place votes. Nebraska is picked to finish third with 157.5 points and 5 first place votes, and Northwestern is fourth with 112 points and 1 first-place vote.
So the Big Ten Championship game is expected to be Wisconsin-Ohio State.
I’ll be the one to say it. This poll is a travesty.
I understand Ohio State being a favorite, and I understand the support behind Wisconsin. But how are they both ahead of Michigan State, the team who won the conference last year, returns more starters than either team, and finished No. 3 in the country last year? Not to mention the Spartans ended the Buckeyes national championship run last year in the Big Ten championship game with a 10-point win, which was pretty convincing.
This is a sign of incredible disrespect for the Spartans. If you noticed, although they have fewer overall points, even Iowa has more first place votes than Michigan State. Iowa!!!
In what universe does this make sense?
Michigan State could have been in the national championship conversation were it not for an early close loss to Notre Dame, its only loss of the year. And the Spartans were only the second Big Ten team to win the Rose Bowl since 2000, actually representing the conference in a decent fashion after Wisconsin and Ohio State made a yearly habit of embarrassing the conference BCS games in the late 2000s.
For them to not be the favorite is a blatant sign of disrespect.