- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Big Ten does not hold an official preseason poll, so don't expect any predicted order of finish to come out of media days later this week in Chicago.
Luckily for us, the indefatigable Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com has carried the banner and organized his own preseason poll the past five years. In this year's forecast, in which 40 media members voted (including yours truly), one result will come as no shock: Ohio State is the unanimous choice to win the Big Ten.
Perhaps we're all a victim of group think right now, but every single voter also chose Michigan State as the East Division runner-up.
In the West Division, which looks to have much more parity than the East, Wisconsin emerged as the runaway favorite by earning 32 of the 40 votes as division champion. Nebraska (five votes) and Minnesota (three) got the other two nods.
But as Lesmerises notes, this polls has been very poor at picking the actual Big Ten champ, going 0-for-5 after voters were allowed to re-vote last year following Braxton Miller's injury (they then switched from Ohio State to Michigan State last August -- whoops).
Here is the predicted order of finish in both divisions from poll voters:
1. Ohio State
2. Michigan State
3. Penn State
Voters were also asked to choose a preseason offensive and defensive player of the year. No surprises, again. Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa was tabbed to repeat as Big Ten defensive player of the year, and teammate Ezekiel Elliott was chosen as offensive player of the year.
Elliott, who is the league's leading returning rusher, received 31 of 39 first-place votes for offensive player of the year. Michigan State's Connor Cook finished second, Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones was third and Jones' fellow Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett was fourth. Two voters chose the nameless "Ohio State quarterback" with their first-place votes.
19dJosh Moyer and Mitch Sherman