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Media pick Nebraska, Wisconsin

[ 2 ] July 25, 2011 |

The Big Ten did away with its preseason football awards this year, discontinuing the voting system in which members of the media ranked the top three teams in the league and named the conference offensive and defensive players of the year.

Instead, the Big Ten asked members of the media to vote for five players to watch from both divisions this season.

The conference will unveil the watch list later this week when the Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon kicks off in Chicago. But Doug Lesmerises of the Cleveland Plain Dealer surveyed two Big Ten beat writers from each school and compiled his own preseason conference favorites.

Nebraska and Wisconsin were tabbed as the favorites of the Legends and Leaders Divisions, respectively, and the Huskers were picked to win the first Big Ten title game in their debut season in the conference. Iowa was picked to finish third in the Legends Division behind Nebraska and Michigan State.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson finished ahead of Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa and Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins for offensive player of the year. Nebraska defensive lineman Jared Crick was picked ahead of teammate Lavonte David, Michigan State defensive lineman Jerel Worthy and Iowa cornerback Shaun Prater for defensive player of the year.

Wisconsin’s Bret Bielema edged Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz and Nebraska’s Bo Pelini in the voting for the Big Ten’s best coach.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Big Ten Preseason Newspaper Poll

Division predictions

First-place votes in parentheses.

Voting on 6-5-4-3-2-1 point system.

LEGENDS

1. Nebraska (19) 139

2. Michigan State (4) 118

3. Iowa 82

4. Michigan (1) 71

5. Northwestern 69

6. Minnesota 25

LEADERS

1. Wisconsin (22) 141

2. Ohio State (1) 113

3. Penn State (1) 95

4. Illinois 76

5. Purdue 52

6. Indiana 27

Title game winner

Nebraska 12, Wisconsin 11, Michigan State 1

Nebraska over Wisconsin (10)

Wisconsin over Nebraska (7)

Wisconsin over Michigan State (3)

Nebraska over Ohio State (1)

Nebraska over Penn State (1)

Wisconsin over Michigan (1)

Michigan State over Wisconsin (1)

Best coach

First-place votes in parentheses.

Voting on 3-2-1 point system, with voters picking top three.

1. Bret Bielema, Wisconsin (7) 35

2. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa (6) 31

3. Bo Pelini, Nebraska (3) 30

4. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern (4) 27

5. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State (4) 18

6. Brady Hoke, Michigan 2

7. Joe Paterno, Penn State 1

Offensive player of the year

First-place votes in parentheses.

Voting on 3-2-1 point system, with voters picking top three.

1. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan (14) 52

2. Dan Persa, QB, Northwestern (4) 26

3. Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan State (2) 18

4. Edwin Baker, RB, Michigan State (1) 16

5. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin (1) 14

6. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin (2) 9

7. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska 4

8. James White, RB, Wisconsin 2

9. Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State 2

10. Derek Moye, WR, Penn State 1

Defensive player of the year

First-place votes in parentheses.

Voting on 3-2-1 point system, with voters picking top three.

1. Jared Crick, DL, Nebraska (15) 58

2. Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska (7) 37

3. Jerel Worthy, DL, Michigan State 10

4. Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa (1) 8

5. Alfonzo Dennard, CB, Nebraska (1) 7

6. John Simon, DL, Ohio State 6

7. Mike Mauti, LB, Penn State 5

8. Mike Martin, DL, Michigan 3

9. Nathan Williams, DL, Ohio State 2

Players who received a second- or third-place vote on one ballot: Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin; Trenton Robinson, S, Michigan State; Micah Hyde, S, Iowa; Kawann Short, DL, Purdue; Ricardo Allen, CB, Purdue; Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Andy Hamilton: University of Iowa graduate Andy Hamilton is originally from Williams, Iowa, and started at the Des Moines Register in August after 12 years at the Press-Citizen. He covers wrestling for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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