OSU edges Wolverines in Rivals writers poll
At the start of the month, Michigan was tabbed as the preseason Big Ten favorite by media covering the conference's annual Kickoff Conference in Chicago.
A recent poll of Rivals.com Big Ten publishers and reporters, however, has tabbed the Wolverines' archrival, Ohio State, as the league's team to beat.
Sixteen of Rivals.com's Big Ten writers and/or editors participated in the poll, for which the results were determined using an inverted pyramid point system.
For example, voters were asked for their top five preseason choices in the team standings. For a first-place vote, a school was awarded five points, with a fifth place vote being good for just a single point, with everything in between lining up accordingly.
Position-by-position rankings will be released in coming days.
Voters from each of the conferences 11 members took part. Poll results were compiled by Brian Neubert of GoldandBlack.com.
Ohio State topped the team rankings by receiving eight first-place votes, sitting atop half the ballots received. Michigan received five first-place nods. Still, the final results were close, as the Buckeyes generated 66 points, just two more than their rivals from Ann Arbor.
It's certainly nothing new to see the Big Ten's Big Two topping the standings, and the preseason forecasts are once again more than justified.
The Buckeyes, despite the numerous off-the-field distractions that have occurred in recent months, are loaded on defense as usual and led by one of the nation's best linebackers in A.J. Hawk and two of college football's most explosive skill-position talents -- receiver Santonio Holmes and jack-of-all-trades Ted Ginn.
Michigan, meanwhile, is led offensively by super sophomores Chad Henne and Michael Hart at quarterback and running back, respectively. And the Wolverines may not miss stud receiver Braylon Edwards all that much, with receiving weapons like Steve Breaston, Jason Avant and Tim Massaquoi.
Lamarr Woodley, Pat Massey, Leon Hall, Ryan Mundy and Co. will make sure Lloyd Carr has his usual stout defense.
With Ohio State and Michigan claiming their usual perch in the preseason standings, the Rivals.com poll generated a third-place tie between Iowa and Purdue, each accumulating 47 points. The Hawkeyes landed three first-place votes, with the Boilermakers getting one.
The Hawkeyes, riding one of the most successful stretches in program history, will go as far as outstanding junior quarterback Drew Tate and Iowa's usual tough-as-nails playing style can take them.
The Boilermakers, meanwhile, replace QB Kyle Orton with a capable fill-in, Brandon Kirsch, and return their entire defense completely intact. It doesn't hurt that Joe Tiller's team doesn't have to play Michigan or Ohio State, and has Iowa at home, so of all conference teams, Purdue would certainly seem to have the schedule on its side.
Penn State, which projects to be much improved over its recent run of uncharacteristic mediocrity, scored 11 points, as a popular fifth-place pick with several voters.
Minnesota appeared on a handful of ballots, enough to land five points; Wisconsin and Michigan State scored two points apiece.
Stay tuned for much, much more from this Rivals.com preseason Big Ten poll.