Michigan named favorite to win Big Ten title by media; Denard Robinson runner-up for offensive MVP
Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com
No matter. It's still favored to win the thing, according to the league's media.
Michigan received 11 of a possible 24 votes to win the Big Ten championship in a media poll that was released Sunday. Michigan State, which fell to Wisconsin in the league's inaugural title game last year, was runner-up with seven votes.
The Badgers received six votes to defend their championship.
Michigan is the clear favorite to win the Legends Division, according to the poll. Its 16 votes are more than twice the number for runner-up Michigan State (seven votes). Nebraska earned the final vote.
For the second consecutive year, the Big Ten did not conduct an official media poll at the behest of its coaches. Instead, 24 daily beat writers, two who cover each of the league's 12 teams, again conducted their own informal poll. (Here are last year's results.)
Voters were asked to rank the predicted order of finish in the divisions, select a title game winner and name preseason offensive and defensive players of the year.
Sixteen of the 24 voters -- two-thirds -- expect Michigan to play Wisconsin in the title game, easily the most popular matchup. The Wolverines earned 11 of the 16 votes to win the game.
Of the eight remaining votes, seven pit Michigan State against Wisconsin in a rematch of last year's game. Interestingly, each of those voters expect the Spartans to exact revenge for last year's loss to the Badgers.
The final vote was cast for Wisconsin beating Nebraska.
As for individual awards, Badgers running back Montee Ball received 14 of 24 votes for preseason offensive player of the year. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson finished runner-up with nine votes, and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller received one.
Ball led the league in rushing last year at 137.4 yards per game, and was a Heisman finalist. Robinson, who was named the media's preseason offensive MVP in last year's poll, led the league in total offense at 257.6 yards per game.
While two players received all but one vote for offensive MVP, there was less consensus on the defensive side of the ball. Michigan State defensive end William Gholston received 11 votes, making him the heavy favorite, but six other players received votes.
Gholston paced last year's rugged Michigan State line with 70 tackles. He tied for seventh in the Big Ten with 16.0 tackles for loss and was 11th with 5.0 sacks.
A closer look at the voting:
Team (First-place votes) Points
1. Wisconsin (19) 139
2. Ohio State (5) 125
3. Purdue 79
4. Illinois 72
5. Penn State 65
6. Indiana 24
Team (First-place votes) Points
1. Michigan (16) 134
2. Michigan State (7) 120
3. Nebraska (1) 104
4. Iowa 72
5. Northwestern 51
6. Minnesota 24
Title-game winner: Michigan over Wisconsin (11 votes).
Others: Michigan State over Wisconsin (7), Wisconsin over Michigan (5), Wisconsin over Nebraska (1).
Offensive MVP: Montee Ball, Wisconsin (14 votes).
Others: Denard Robinson, Michigan (9), Braxton Miller, Ohio State (1).
Defensive MVP: William Gholston, Michigan State (11 votes).
Others: Kawaan Short, Purdue (5), Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State (3), John Simon, Ohio State (2), Denicos Allen, Michigan State (1), Chris Borland, Wisconsin (1), Gerald Hodges, Penn State (1).
Two reporters who cover each of the Big Ten's teams cast ballots. A list of the voters:
Bob Asmussen, Champaign News-Gazette
Steve Batterson, Quad City Times
David Briggs, Toledo Blade
Mike Carmin, Lafayette Joournal & Courier
Matt Charboneau, Detroit News
Brian Christopherson, Lincoln Journal Star
Pete DiPrimio, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel
Dustin Dopirak, Bloomington Herald-Times
Chris Emma, Northwestern scout.com
Bob Flounders, Harrisburg Patriot-News
Marcus Fuller, St. Paul Pioneer Press
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
Terry Hutchens, Indianapolis Star
Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Sam McKewon, Omaha World-Herald
Kyle Meinke, Annarbor.com
Phil Miller, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Marc Morehouse, Cedar Rapids Gazette
Tom Mulhern, Wisconsin State Journal
Jeff Potyrkus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Joe Rexrode, Lansing State Journal
Jeff Rice, Lions 24/7
Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press
John Supinie, GateHouse News Service