Ohio State is naturally the favorite to win the Big Ten title. And, according to a poll of league writers, an overwhelming favorite.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Doug Lesmerises organized a poll of 26 conference writers, including Adam and me, and all 26 picked the Buckeyes to win the Leaders Division. All but one forecast Ohio State to win the Big Ten championship game. (The Big Ten, for reasons that make little sense to me, does not issue an official preseason poll like most every other conference).
The poll was much closer in the Legends Division, where Michigan nosed out Nebraska as the choice. Both teams received 14 first-place votes, including four ties, with Michigan State also receiving four first place votes. The Wolverines had 135.5 total points to 132.5 to Nebraska. One writer picked Michigan to beat Ohio State in the conference championship game.
The poll saw Michigan State finishing third in the Legends, with Northwestern fourth, Iowa fifth and Minnesota sixth. In the Leaders, the poll results forecast Wisconsin as the runner-up, followed by Penn State, Indiana, Purdue and Illinois.
Lesmerises also asked voters to name a most surprising and most disappointing team in 2013. Indiana got 13 of the 26 votes as the most surprising team. Six other teams got votes, with Northwestern (six votes) finishing second.
Voters picked Michigan State as the most disappointing team, though the Spartans got only six of the 26 votes and eight different teams received at least one vote. Michigan State finished just ahead of Michigan (five) and Northwestern (four) for the title no team really wants.