Since the conference switched to an East-West format in 2014, the Big Ten champion has come out of the East every single season. One writer thinks that changes in a stunning way in 2019.
This morning, Cleveland.com released its annual Big Ten preseason media poll. The conference doesn’t do its own official predictions, so Cleveland.com has handled the media poll for the last nine seasons.
Of the 34 writers polled, half of them picked Michigan to win the Big Ten. Fourteen others chose Ohio State, while two went with the league’s offseason media darling, Nebraska.
The Huskers tied with Iowa for most first place votes in the Big Ten West, at 14 each, but edged them out in overall points. Wisconsin finished third with four Big Ten West first place votes.
One anonymous writer offered the most bold Big Ten Championship pick of all: Northwestern. Sure, the Wildcats did win the West and play in the conference title game last year, but picking them to win that game is another matter.
— Ella Brockway (@ellabrockway) July 17, 2019
Okay, picking the Wildcats to win the entire Big Ten seems a little extreme, but the Big Ten West is pretty wide open. You could make a case for pretty much any team other than Illinois to win the division.
Wisconsin is still good, but not as elite as they have been in years past. Nebraska is on the rise, but will they have enough in Year Two under Scott Frost?
Iowa is still Iowa, meaning they will be in the hunt. Then there’s Northwestern, Minnesota and Purdue.
Should be a fun race.