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Posted on Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

Nebraska named Big Ten football favorite in media poll; Michigan fourth in Legends Division

By Kyle Meinke

Nebraska_Big Ten.jpg

Nebraska, which just placed new flags with Big Ten logos on the campus in early July, was voted as the favorite to hang the first Big Ten championship game banner.

AP Photo

The new guy already is the big man on campus.

Nebraska enters its initial Big Ten football season as the media’s favorite to win the league’s first championship game, edging Wisconsin 12-11 in the Big Ten Preseason Newspaper Poll results announced Monday.

Michigan State picked up the only other vote for league champion.

The voting included two beat writers for each Big Ten team and was conducted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Doug Lesmerises. The system takes the place of the old media poll, which was scrapped by the Big Ten at the request of the conference’s coaches.


Twenty-four Big Ten football beat writers, including’s Kyle Meinke, look ahead at the 2011 season.

The Cornhuskers garnered 19 of 24 votes to win the Legends Division and Wisconsin earned 22 votes to capture the Leaders Division -- becoming overwhelming favorites to earn the first divisional titles in league history.

Michigan State earned four first-place votes and finished second in the Legends Division behind Nebraska.

Michigan was picked fourth in the division, but garnered one vote to win it.

Ohio State finished second and Penn State third in the Leaders Division. Each had one first-place vote.


Team, first place votes, total points
1. Nebraska (19) 139
2. Michigan State (4) 118
3. Iowa 82
4. Michigan (1) 71
5. Northwestern 69
6. Minnesota 25

Team, first place votes, total points
1. Wisconsin (22) 141
2. Ohio State (1) 113
3. Penn State (1) 95
4. Illinois 76
5. Purdue 52
6. Indiana 27

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)

Nebraska: Brian Christopherson, Lincoln Journal Star; Sam McKewon, Omaha World-Herald

Iowa: Marc Morehouse, Cedar Rapids Gazette; Andy Hamilton, Iowa City Press-Citizen

Michigan: Mark Snyder, Detroit Free Press; Kyle Meinke,

Minnesota: Marcus Fuller, St. Paul Pioneer Press; Phil Miller, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Northwestern: Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune; Lindsey Willhite, Daily Herald

Michigan State: Joe Rexrode, Lansing State Journal; Matt Charboneau, Detroit News

Wisconsin: Tom Mulhern, Wisconsin State Journal; Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Ohio State: Matt Markey, Toledo Blade; Doug Lesmerises, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Penn State: Bob Flounders, Harrisburg Patriot-News; Jeff Rice, Centre Daily Times

Indiana: Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star; Dustin Dopirak, Bloomington Herald-Times

Purdue: Pete DiPrimio, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel; Mike Carmin, Lafayette Journal and Courier

Illinois: Bob Asmussen, Champaign News-Gazette; 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.



Wed, Jul 27, 2011 : 2:35 a.m.

The University of Chicago has a better chance of winning the Big Ten this year than Michigan.


Tue, Jul 26, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

I'll preface this by saying I live in Nebraska, and visit family in Ann Arbor. I think Nebraska will be very good this year, especially on defense, but we have a brutal schedule, and the offense still needs to prove something under a new offensive coordinator, plus keeping the quarterback Martinez healthy and happy! I actually think any of five or six teams can compete for the title. Looking forward to a fun year. Great to be in the Big Ten. Go Big Red!

Terry Star21

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:15 p.m.

Well now. When you have a new coach and a great system missing a few parts right now - you need something extra to make it work. Michigan has something no other team in the Big Ten has - heart, faithful and tradition. Anyone will tell you that wins over talent hands down. Michigan also will be playing this years entire schedule against teams they have an overall winning record with. That being said, the obvious choice is Michigan - running away with the title ! MgoBlueForTim.......and lord help those poor souls going up against the Wolverines this season !!!!

Joe Kidd

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 10:50 p.m.

Michigan should do better than that. I expect a 9-3 record at worse, two games better than last year. The offense should be much more explosive and the defense should be able to be good enough to take those two games. A few games last year were lost by turnover that should not happen this year and couple games by ten points that should have been wins. Less than that I consider a big step backward.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 9:36 p.m.

Nebraska always seemed overrated to me, we'll have to wait and see.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 7:39 p.m.

Nebraska vs. Penn State is a bad comparison. Nebraska is coming from a conference where they know what conference play is like, and Penn State did not. Nebraska has already played in those stupid conference championship games and Penn State did not (of course, they didn't exist back then). But nobody knows how Nebraska will match up with the B10/B11/B12 because they haven't played in our stadiums, against our teams, etc. They very well could win, but I'd give any other number of teams an equal chance. I personally hope they don't win because I don't like them in my conference--it doesn't feel right (any more than PSU, to be honest) but over time it'll feel better.

Joe Kidd

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 10:47 p.m.

Thank you. I thought I was the only one against Ne in the Big Ten. I like tradition and I think this violates Big Ten/Michigan tradition. I guess Ne has no honor in re to tradition for its former conference. I also did not want PSU. I think they should have gone Big East or ACC. They would have done better and Joe Pa would have a few hundred more wins. Have not been impressed with NE since the 70s when it was NE and OK as powerhouses. I hope they get embarrassed.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

No issues with the Nebraska pick but I wouldn't overlook O$U who would've been a NC favorite with Pryor. O$U still has the best talent in the B1G. Wisky is overrated with the NC St transfer, Wilson at QB. The biggest surprise is what fool picked u-m to finish 1st in the Legends division?! Any chance it was Kyle Meinke with! They'll be lucky to break .500 this year.

Terry Star21

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:19 p.m.

If anyone picked Michigan, they would be a genius...what fool mistakes a dollar sign for a 'S'......

Kyle Meinke

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 7:38 p.m.

Tom, it wasn't me who picked Michigan first. I've been trying to stay away from the kool-aide as much as possible since moving to Ann Arbor. I picked Michigan fourth, while Nebraska was my divisional champ. Wisconsin was my overall champ. I'm publishing my ballot later today, so you'll get a full look then.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

I thought they scrapped the names Legends and Leaders?

Kyle Meinke

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 7:37 p.m.

trespass, I think that was just wishful thinking. ;) There's a fairly strong consensus the names aren't very good, but the Big Ten said in the offseason it would let them ride for a while before reevaluating. That means, really, that they like them and probably will stick with them for the foreseeable future. I wouldn't expect a change. But, who knows. If something were to happen at some point, it wouldn't happen for at least a year. Again, though, I doubt this will happen.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 6:54 p.m.

You know what? I'm okay with this ... even if it comes to pass and Nebraska wins the "Legends" division. I'd like to see Michigan win it, but having Nebraska come in with a splash will just stir the blood rivalries going forward. I can't wait for September 3rd!!

Terry Star21

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 11:24 p.m.

Don, I give you credit, but anyone/thing that doesn't pick Michigan to win it all has no credibility at you really think any Michigan fan would be surprised if we win it all........that's what I thought ! 39 days buddy !

Wally the Wolverine

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 6:35 p.m.

This is utter nonsense! Championships are our birthright - after all, we have the highest winning % in collegiate history. I demand a recall!

David Vande Bunte

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

can't wait til basketball season to create a fake Martin the Spartan nickname and troll around the MSU boards...


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

Well why not Nebraska? Wisconsin goes in cycles and may have peaked last year, ohio has to go sit in the corner for awhile but still I wouldn't take ohio lightly and then there is Mich. State, yes this year is a crap shoot to say the least so I reiterate, why not Nebraska? Now that being said, if I was coaching Nebraska I'd make sure those boys are up for every game, Penn State found out how grueling the big ten schedule can be when t hey came on board a few years ago.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

Indeed ... why not? Wouldn't it be great if in the Big 10 the "Legends" division emerges as the tough one ... balanced with three or four strong contenders each year?

David Vande Bunte

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 6:05 p.m.

Meh at preseason polls. I will take whoever wins on the field over whoever wins in the minds of sportswriters before any of them have played a single down...Preseason polls are meaningless, just something to kill time and argue about until the real football season actually begins, and we have something concrete to look at.

David Vande Bunte

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 8:25 p.m.

What hypocrisy, exactly? Please, I would love for you to show me where I am contradicting myself... If you can show me where: 1. I ever said Brady Hoke is the greatest coach ever, 2. that Michigan would even be remotely near the National Championship picture, 3. that this is in fact the "greatest recruiting class ever", 4. or that I haven't consistently washed my hands of Tate Forcier every article that comes about? In fact, I have downright mocked him for his grades, for his attitude last summer, and his excuses as to why he wants to go to whatever school. All of these things can easily be verified by clicking on my user name, and reading through the comments I have made. Please, I invite you to try to prove me wrong on any of these things. If you can, fine, I will admit my hypocrisy. If you cannot, then you need to admit that you are nothing but an angry troll, who contributes nothing of value to the discussion. I await your evidence. As for Denard for Heisman, this column isn't about that, so why would I refer to it? When we get an article about Denard's Heisman chances, maybe I will comment in it, maybe I won't. But, its completely irrelevant here. For the record, I do think Denard Robinson will be a Heisman candidate. He finished 6th last year as a sophomore, and I have no reason to believe that his skills have atrophied. His numbers will be different, less rush yards matched with more passing yards, but Denard's Heisman candidacy is a topic for another column. This is about preseason polls.


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 7:37 p.m.

Not ready to annoint Hokey the greatest coach ever? No mention of u-m winning the NC this year due to the greatest recruiting class ever?! How about that Forcier for Heisman after three games? No Denard for Heisman chatter again?! Hypocrosy is what this is called!


Mon, Jul 25, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

Bah. Penn State was going to whip up on the big ten in their first year too. How did that go for them?