Ohio State is unanimous pick to win Big Ten in preseason football media poll
Ohio State is the unanimous favorite to win the Big Ten this fall.
In Cleveland.com’s annual preseason poll of media members covering the league, the Buckeyes received all 36 first-place votes to win the East Division and prevail in the conference championship game.
Thirty-one ballots have the Buckeyes beating Wisconsin, which is the popular choice to capture the West Division.
The unofficial poll was published Monday on the eve of the conference media days, which are being held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Indianapolis. No poll is conducted by the Big Ten.
The front-runner status is not unusual for Ohio State, which was the preseason pick to win the league in six of the seven previous seasons.
But the Buckeyes are no longer the defending conference champions after faltering to archrival Michigan last year, ending a streak of four consecutive league titles.
Despite the setback, they feature a star-studded offense headlined by quarterback C.J. Stroud and receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and are overhauling the other side of the ball after hiring away veteran defensive coordinator Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State.
Below are the full results, including the votes for offensive and defensive players of the year:
Big Ten East
1. Ohio State (36 first-place votes) 252 points
2. Michigan 203
3. Penn State 169
4. Michigan State 162
5. Maryland 104
6. Rutgers 60
7. Indiana 58
Big Ten West
1. Wisconsin (31) 246 points
2. Iowa (3) 198
3. Minnesota (2) 162
4. Purdue 153
5. Nebraska 123
6. Illinois 65
7. Northwestern 61
Ohio State over Wisconsin (31)
Ohio State over Iowa (3)
Ohio State over Minnesota (2)
Offensive Player of the Year
1. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (32 first-place votes) 101 points
2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State (2) 42
3. Braelon Allen, RB, Wisconsin 37
4. Blake Corum, RB, Michigan 8
5. Aidan O’Connell, QB, Purdue 7
6. TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State 5
7. Taulia Tagovailoa, QB, Maryland (1) 4
8. Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota 3
9. (tie) Rakim Jarrett, WR, Maryland 1
9. (tie) Payton Thorne, QB, Michigan State 1
9. (tie) Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State 1
Defensive Player of the Year
1. Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa (20 first-place votes) 74 points
2. Nick Herbig, LB, Wisconsin (10) 55
3. Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State (4) 26
4. Riley Moss, CB, Iowa (1) 20
5. Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State 8
6. Ji’Ayir Brown, S, Penn State 7
7. (tie) Denzel Burke, CB, Ohio State 3
7. (tie) Tiawan Mullen, CB, Indiana 3
7. (tie) Garrett Nelson, LB, Nebraska 3
7. (tie) J.T. Tuimoloau, DE, Ohio State 3
11. (tie) Junior Colson, LB, Michigan 2
11. (tie) Ronnie Hickman, S, Ohio State 2
11. (tie) P.J.Mustipher, DT, Penn State 2
14. (tie) Xavier Henderson, S, Michigan State 1
14. (tie) Adam Korsak, P, Rutgers 1