For whatever reason, the Big Ten does not officially release preseason predictions from journalists for final standings, division champions, and overall champion. Maybe they're too busy counting their giant stacks of TV revenue money to do anything else. In the absence of official Big Ten predictions, though, cleveland.com has conducted an unofficially official Big Ten preseason poll for the last six seasons. Last year, Iowa was pegged for 4th in the Big Ten West, behind Wisconsin (overwhelming favorite to win the Big Ten West), Nebraska, and Minnesota. This year? Well, things have changed.
This year it's Iowa who is the overwhelming favorite to win the Big Ten West, per the league's media. Iowa received 32.5 of 39 votes to win the Big Ten West. I say 32.5 because one voter picked Iowa and.... Minnesota to share the Big Ten West title this year. No, really. Nebraska received three votes to win the West, Wisconsin picked up two, and Northwestern grabbed the single remaining vote.
Despite losing most of their starting lineup to the NFL last season, Ohio State is again the favorite to win the Big Ten East, picking up 27.5 of 39 votes. Michigan finished second with 10.5 votes. (Five voters picked Michigan and Ohio State to tie for the Big Ten East title. One voter picked a three-way tie between Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State.
Finally, while 32 voters have Iowa making a second-straight trip to the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis in December, only one brave soul picked Iowa to actually win that game. 24 voters picked Iowa to lose to Ohio State, six picked Iowa to lose to Michigan, while that one lone holdout picked Iowa to triumph over Ohio State in the title game. What a glorious night that would be.
The Big Ten predictions are anonymous so we don't know which writer picked Iowa to win the grand prize, but whoever you are: kudos to you, sir. You are clearly smarter and better-informed than the rest of your peers. For what it's worth, this poll's consensus pick for Big Ten champion has never been right in the first five years of the poll. So Ohio State? You're doomed.
Check out cleveland.com's full Big Ten preseason predictions right here.