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Posted on Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Michigan named favorite to win Big Ten title by media; Denard Robinson runner-up for offensive MVP

By Kyle Meinke


Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson finished second for preseason Big Ten offensive player of the year in a media poll.

Lon Horwedel |

The Michigan football team will face one of the Big Ten's most difficult schedules next season.

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
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,
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

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


August Christopher

Mon, Jul 23, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

Michigan's Record - Everything before the 1950 is meaningless. Yes, Meaningless. Let me list the reasons 1. Different Game - The change the rules all the time, but the leather helmet no pass days really don't mean anything. 2. Different Teams - Back when less than 50 schools even fielded a varsity team, or even back when about 12 did, is just not relevant. 3. BS Media Votes - How did the AP Writer from Miami vote UM no. 1 in 1903? Oh, he flew in a watched some games? Or watched them on TV? Maybe TiVo'd them? It was even more BS, hype based voting then than it is now. How many National Titles has UM won since 1950? 1, or 2, I'm not looking it up again. MSU? 6.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

Haven't you heard August? Those who stay WON'T be champions! 2004 and counting.

Chad Williams

Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

There is no clear cut favorite except Wisconsin because Ohio State is banned from the B1G championship game. What helps Msu is the schedule not necessarily important record wise as it is pride. If Michigan loses at home to MSU they wont win the big ten. They can stomach losses to ND and Bama but they must go 7-1down in conference play, i think Msu has improved and i also see them 6-2, 7-1 range. Michigan beats state but goes 6-2 they own the tiebreaker if Msu were to lose to Wisconsin or Ohio State and ill bet they will lose to one. Nebraska could make things difficult say we lose to them and they finish 6-2 but i see them in the 5-3, 4-4 range. Its gonna be a fun year in the big ten and i will tell you if we got Wisconsin and Michigan both 12-0 in the B1G game that would bring the conference back to the front line.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 2:11 a.m.

How's your team gonna do in their regular season game vs. the BADgers? Oh...don't play 'em. Certainly not gonna see 'em in Indy. Last year's fashionable pre-season pick was Nebraska. How'd that work out for them? Their foolish fans bought 10,000 advance tickets for the game. No threat!


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 10:11 p.m.

Michigan's biggest divisional obsticle, the road game at Nebraska. They win that game, they are on their way to Indy to play Wisc for the Big Ten title.

Terry Star21

Mon, Jul 23, 2012 : 12:23 a.m.

That is a key game, I have a very good feeling though. We need to play Wisconsin every year, these two teams represent the best in B10 football.


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

Who decided to give Mark Snyder a vote?


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

I predict Mich. will be the better team over Sparty in 2012 just like in 2011 as the final national rankings indicate. Sorry Sparty, more than likely your 3 year run is over. Last year you were not the better team Mich. was. A loss is no longer an indication of the better team it is the final rankings case in point, LSU. LSU won the conference championship and lost the National Championship, Sparty won the first game with Whisky but lost the league championship game to Whisky. Sorry Sparty, you must win the big games to be considered for anything after all you are Sparty.

August Christopher

Mon, Jul 23, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

In theory the definition of the better team is the one who one. So beating you wasn't a big game? I agree little sister.


Mon, Jul 23, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.

Whatever makes you sleep better buddy. On the field MSU is 4 and 0, soon to be 5 and 0.

Terry Star21

Mon, Jul 23, 2012 : 12:18 a.m.

I like your style, smart and very wise !

Terry Star21

Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

I'm not always one to read too much into predictions. But what the media says is really a no-brainer. Here we have the best college football team in the nation, with several of the nations best players and the three best coaches in America. Great things are always ahead for Michigan - good to see the media getting wise and jumping on the success train as the rest of American soon follows. Sparty should be more concerned about 'Stats after the Whistle' i.e; late hits, punching, trying to twist heads off, etc. and the most obnoxious coach/supporter of these tactics. But then again, he and the team are no threat with a 30.7 % winning record against Michigan. MgoBlueForTiM.....Leaders and Best only gets Better.


Mon, Jul 23, 2012 : 12:45 a.m.

I think Notre Dame has a better chance of winning the Big10 than um! @Hailmary. You may be correct in saying um has dominated MSU since their very first game...but since they entered the Big10, there has been no domination... Quit living in the past...It's 2012...we don't care how many DivII teams you've beaten to up your win numbers.


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.

To all of the very confident green and white folks: your team's offense is shadow of it was last year. Words I live by: Never underestimate your opponent. Yes, it works both ways.

Lifetime AA ND Fan

Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

Terry Star has to be terribly bloated from all of the kool-aid he drinks!


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

congrats on all the wins in your program's storied history, but that doesn't change the fact that so far dantonio has owned um and not one player on state's roster (unless there are sixth year guys, too lazy to check) has ever lost to the wolverines


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

Your right golions you are no wizard, since Mich. and sparty first matched up Mich. has doninated and will continue to do so and Mich.'s program is simply put, out of sparty's league as a matter of fact a loss last year did not help sparty much in the finale rankings for 2011. Sorry sparty your just plain out classed and will continue to be by Mich. Mich. has the better win percentage in the history of the two and there is simply no way you can spin it.


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 7 p.m.

I'm no math wizard but I think that Dantonio's 4-1 record against UM translates to better than a 30.7 win %.


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

Michigan has to beat sparti first.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

Hail...luckily your team scored 14 unanswered late in the 4th in 2007 or Dantonio would be 5-0. Nobody at Michigan has backed anything up since Mike Hart left. Delusional fans here can't back anything up. Where's the threat?


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

Hell, Michigan has already beat Sparty in every measure of the word.


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 2:11 p.m.

I see sparty is up early and eager to read about the Wolverines! Meaningless conjecture of the preseason polls aside, it looks like our division will be very competitive, as well as the B1G as a whole. I think it's great for the state when both the Wolverines and sparty are strong. It makes for a good rivalry and a big showdown on Oct 20! Also... No votes for ohio in the B1G Championship Game? What gives? Have fun taking a year off. Couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of people.


Tue, Jul 24, 2012 : 2:04 a.m.

34-26-2 since Truman was President. Your team stinks. Michigan State will dominate in the trenches MORE SO than in 2011. This game won't be close. Will 5 in a row shut you mutts up?


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

Hey Terry Star, I thought I was the only one that had insomnia because I worry so much about Sparty.

Terry Star21

Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

Yes ! Sparty can't sleep these days - too worried about Michigan. But I guess when your team only wins 30.7 % of the games against Michigan - you become frightened, you feel the Threat !


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 1:20 p.m.

Ain't never gonna happen, wishful thinking at best ! Get ready for your 5th straight loss to MSU Wolverinettes ! Go Green Go White


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 6:42 p.m.

Another sleep walking Sparty.

Jim Eardley

Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 11:46 a.m.

ohhh, little worried about a fifth straight lose to that team which"fell to Wisconsin?"


Sun, Jul 22, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

You don't have to necessarily beat a team to come out ahead of them in the rankings. We lost to Sparty but we beat ND and visa versa for Sparty. We went and won our BCS game and Sparty didn't make it to the BCS. Same equasion that the NFL plays under. We really were a better team in the final analysis according to the final national rankings. Same held true for Whisky and Sparty, loss or win reversal. Case in point Alabama vs LSU. Some would say Alabama should not have been in the champ. game. but those that disagree are more than likely LSU fans. Just like the majority of fans that disagree that Mich Wolves. were the better team in 2011 are Sparty fans. We all know what the final rankings were and the final rankings point the finger at Mich. Wolves. as the better team and I might mention correctly so. Sorry Sparty you took a back seat to Mich. Wolves. in 2011.