For just the second time in six years, the Wisconsin football team hasn’t been picked to finish first or second in the Big Ten West.
In a poll conducted by Cleveland.com, media that covers the 14 teams in the conference chose Nebraska to finish first, Iowa to finish second and the Badgers to come in third. Wisconsin did receive four first-place votes, but that trailed the 14 that the Huskers and Hawkeyes each got. In total, five of the seven teams in the division received at least one first-place vote.
In the East Division, Michigan took the top spot with 20 first-place votes. The Wolverines were followed by Ohio State (14 first-place votes), Michigan State and Penn State.
Overall, Michigan was picked to win the Big Ten Title game by 17 writers, while the Buckeyes got 14 votes. Nebraska (2) and Northwestern (1) were the only other schools picked to win the championship.
The last time Wisconsin was picked third came in 2016. All the Badgers did that year was win the West at 7-2, come up short in the Big Ten Championship and then won the Cotton Bowl to finish the year 11-3.
As for individual awards, Jonathan Taylor was by far the leading vote getter for preseason Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He got 21 votes, while the rest of the conference got 13 votes combined.
Ohio State’s Chase Young was voted the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.