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Iowa Football: Hawkeyes Picked to Finish Second in Big Ten West

Can the Hawkeyes return to Indy?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Nebraska at Iowa
The Hawkeyes are once again expected to finish the bridesmaid in the Big Ten West.
Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Big Ten Media Days get underway this week in Indianapolis and with that comes a slew of news and notes from both the Iowa Hawkeyes and the rest of the Big Ten. Media availability from all the conference’s coaches and players from almost all of the conference’s teams is set to kick off on Wednesday. As a reminder, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz will take the podium at 10:15am CT (coverage on Big Ten Network) with CB Cooper DeJean, TE Luke Lachey and LB Jay Higgins set to be at his side after DT Noah Shannon announced he would not attend as he awaits the results of an NCAA investigation into gambling.

Ahead of that media availability later this week, the media voted on expectations for the upcoming season with the results released on Monday. Those results come with some changes from recent trades as for the first time in four years, someone other than the Ohio State Buckeyes are projected to win the Big Ten East.

The new leader in the clubhouse, of course, is the Michigan Wolverines. After winning the Big Ten Championship in both 2021 and 2022, the Wolverines are projected to three-peat in 2023. Of course, those votes were cast before news broke on Tuesday afternoon that head coach Jim Harbaugh may be suspended for four games this season following class 1 recruiting violations, though the opponents for those first four games are likely to be significant underdogs when they face off with the Wolverines even without their head man.

Michigan took the top spot with a healthy margin. They garnered 27 votes to win it all with Ohio State the next closest at just 8. The only other team to earn any top votes was the Penn State Nittany Lions, who received 2 votes to win the title. The mix for East division champions was the same.

In the West, things were much more interesting. Like the Defensive Player of the Year vote, the West came down to just a single point. Unlike the DPoY vote, however, the Hawkeyes did not come out on top as the Wisconsin Badgers garnered 20 first place votes to finish with 233 total points, just topping Iowa’s 232 points on 16 first place votes. Minnesota was the only other school to receive a first place vote in the West, garnering one.

This marks the fourth straight season Wisconsin has been picked as the favorite to win the West in the preseason. Last season, the Badgers were picked to win the division by 48 points. They finished the year fifth in the West. Wisconsin has not won the division since 2019.

Here’s a look at the full voting results.


1-Michigan (27 1st, 9 2nd, 1 3rd, 0 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th) 248

2-Ohio State (8-25-4-0-0-0-0) 226

3-Penn State (2-3-32-0-0-0-0) 192

4-Maryland (0-0-0-32-5-0-0) 143

5-Michigan State (0-0-0-4-24-8-1) 105

6-Rutgers (0-0-0-1-6-22-8) 74

7-Indiana (0-0-0-0-2-7-28) 48


1-Wisconsin (20-11-5-0-0-1-0) 233

2-Iowa (16-17-2-2-0-0-0) 232

3-Minnesota (1-5-17-12-2-0-0) 176

4-Illinois (0-3-8-18-6-2-0) 152

5-Nebraska (0-1-3-2-25-6-0) 116

6-Purdue (0-0-2-3-4-27-1) 89

7-Northwestern (0-0-0-0-0-1-36) 38

Big Ten championship game predictions

Michigan over Wisconsin (15)

Michigan over Iowa (11)

Michigan over Minnesota (1)

Ohio State over Iowa (4)

Ohio State over Wisconsin (4)

Penn State over Iowa (1)

Penn State over Wisconsin (1)

Notably, the media has been quite poor at actually predicting the outcome of the season of the years. Since 2011, the league’s media members have accurately picked the Big Ten champion just three times. All three were votes for Ohio State, who had won four straight titles before the Wolverines took each of the last two.

2022: Pick: Ohio State. Actual: Michigan.

2021: Pick: Ohio State. Actual: Michigan.

2020: Pick: Ohio State. Actual: Ohio State.

2019: Pick: Michigan. Actual: Ohio State.

2018: Pick: Ohio State. Actual: Ohio State.

2017: Pick: Ohio State. Actual: Ohio State.

2016: Pick: Ohio State. Actual: Penn State.

2015: Pick: Ohio State. Actual: Michigan State.

2014: Pick: Michigan State. Actual: Ohio State.

2013: Pick: Ohio State. Actual: Michigan State.

2012: Pick: Michigan. Actual: Wisconsin.

2011: Pick: Nebraska. Actual: Wisconsin.

While the media has a poor track record, it’s relatively aligned with Vegas. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Wisconsin is the odds on favorite to win the West at +130. The Hawkeyes are second at +240, followed by Illinois +600, Minnesota +650, Nebraska +1400, Purdue +2000 and Northwestern at +10000. In the East, there’s a bit more divergence as Vegas has Ohio State at +110 to win the division, followed by Michigan at +125, Penn State at +450, Maryland +7500, MSU +10000, Rutgers +20000 and Indiana at +30000.

While Ohio State has better odds to win the East, the Buckeyes and Michigan are in a dead heat at +165 to win the Big Ten Championship. That’s followed by PSU at +600, Wisconsin at +750, Iowa at +1200 and Illinois at +3000.

Media availability kicks off at 10am CT on Wednesday, July 26th with Illinois head coach Bret Bielema. The Illini will be followed by Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern (whose players opted not to attend on Tuesday afternoon), Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers. The remaining programs will be available on Thursday.