As a member of the "working media" we get requests to help out other "media" in their articles and pursuits. Then sometimes we get to steal their ideas and content for our own gain. Thus, we bring you the Big Ten Power Poll!
I am a voting member in two power polls this season on other websites. If you want to compare my votes to other "writers" from around the Big Ten, I'm sure they would love a click as well. Check out the Rutgers Blog www.SalSoothsayer and another blog covering the whole conference, www.talking10.com With out any further delay, I bring you the Preseason Version, of the Big Ten Power Poll.
Big Ten East
1. Ohio State
The natty champs are the obvious pick here. Until they lose, they won't move from here all season. The amount of riches they have amassed on their team is insane. They do get a tough trip to Blacksburg to start the season off Labor Day Night against Virginia Tech while missing several players who will be suspended including Joey Bosa, so its definitely not a gimmie.
2. Michigan State
The Spartans are probably the second best team in the Big Ten. They just have the dinosaur in the room to deal with that is the Buckeyes. If Sparty can get past Oregon in Week 2 though....watch out.
3. Penn State
Can Christian Hackenberg relive his freshman season success in his senior year? If the Nittany Lions want to stay in this spot for a majority of the season he will need to. James Franklin has the Lions on the right path, but they have a loooooong climb to see the two teams ahead of them.
Harbaugh, Harbaugh, Harbaugh. Michigan has a lot of talent, and a khaki clad new coach, but they have a tough non-conference schedule right out of the gate. I would not be surprised to see Utah crush the Wolverines Thursday night and send Michigan down the list next week.
Yeah, its all a crapshoot from here. Kyle Flood still has a job for now, unlike another embattled Big Ten coach, but he may be fighting for his job this season. Rutgers has a great receiver in Leonte Caroo, but do they have someone who can get him the ball?
The Terps lose a lot from their relatively successful debut season in the Big Ten, and will have a tough time making a bowl this season.
Wash, rinse, repeat. Good luck Kevin Wilson.
Big Ten West
Yeah, yeah..I know. But with Corey Clement the running game won't lose much of a beat. The injuries on the O-line are an issue, so they will probably get pasted by Alabama on Saturday. But, that's not really a surprise.
The expectations are high for the Gophers this season. Playing well against TCU Thursday night would go a long way to making us all feel like they can live up to to them. I don't expect them to win, but if they can keep it close, they could bump up to the #1 spot next week if Wisconsin does as expected. A blowout though, and Minnesota's expectations may have to be tempered slightly.
Welcome to the Big Ten Mike Riley. After several years of Bo Ball, Nebraska is now going to play a much different style. It may take a year or two for the adjustments to work, so this could be a mixed season for the Huskers. We will get a better idea of just how they will look after their game against BYU this weekend.
Its make or break for Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes this season. They will most likely live or die on the shoulders of C.J. Beathard. If Iowa's offense can produce, they could surprise as the easy schedule is still there. The O struggles....yeah it could get ugly in Iowa City. No gimmie in week 1 against FCS runner up Illinois State.
This is what I wrote last fall. Most of it still applies:
Don't believe the hype. People love Northwestern in August. They we see what happens. It didn't even need to get out of August this year before they started to fall apart. Pat Fitzgerald is a great coach, but they really should work on that training staff.
The injuries are not as big of an issue this fall, but Northwestern will still need to fight to make a bowl game this season, no matter what the Medill grads tell you.
This was done pre-Beckman. It may be a toss up now between the Illini and Purdue for #6 and #7. But who knows, maybe Illinois responds well and unites behind interim coach Bill Cubit. Probably not, but its possible..
Can the Boilers take advantage of Illinois's turmoil to move up a slot. Its definitely possible. Austin Appleby will need to have an amazing season to see the Boilermakers move up much more though.
In case you are a pre-divisions purist, and want to see how teams stack up overall, here is my overall Top 14:
1. Ohio State
6. Penn State
There are a lot of games that can change these ranking after this upcoming weekend. Several teams have the ability to pull upsets and change things (Wisconsin, Minnesota), and others have the chance to fall on their face and drop (Ohio State, Iowa, Nebraska)
Arguments? Likes? Dislikes? Think I am an idiot? Tell me in the comments. But just remember it is the preseason, and if you look foolish in the comments, I reserve the right to use it in next week's poll post