Preseason College Football Rankings 2011: The Big Ten

Matt Zvolanek@MattZvolanekCorrespondent IIJuly 26, 2011

Preseason College Football Rankings 2011: The Big Ten

0 of 6

    According to Ryan Autullo of the Toledo Blade, the Big Ten has said it is not going to take part in the preseason voting for best team, best offensive player, etc.  Instead, it will release five players to watch from each division. 

    Fans are sad to see these awards go.  What else are we going to talk about until fall camps start? 

    That's why, without further ado, I give you my preseason picks for the Big Ten.

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

1 of 6

    It'd be easy to pick Denard Robinson, based on his numbers from last year, but that was with Rich Rod's system.  New head coach, Brady Hoke, has a completely different idea for the Michigan offense.  That's why I'm going with Northwestern QB, Dan Persa.  If Persa stays healthy this year, he will tear up defenses with his arm.  

    A few other possibilities:

    2. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan

    3. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin

    4. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

2 of 6

    There are many good defenders who could take this, but I'm going with Jared Crick at Nebraska.  The defensive tackle has wreaked havoc on the spread offenses of the Big 12, but can he bring his game to the power-heavy Big Ten?  I'm saying yes.

    Other possibilities:

    2. Trenton Robinson, DB, Michigan State

    3. Lavonte David, LB, Nebraska

    4. Alfonzo Dennard, DB, Nebraska

No. 3 Team: Michigan State

3 of 6

    Led by senior QB Kirk Cousins, the Spartans have the ability to go far in the Big Ten this year.  It will be interesting to see how they do. 

    The Spartans get lucky and draw the Buckeyes the week before the tattoo-gate five (minus one) come back.  They get Michigan and Wisconsin at home, but do have to travel to Nebraska and Iowa.

No. 2 Team: Wisconsin

4 of 6

    Wisconsin has, aside from Ohio State, been the most talked-about team in the Big Ten this offseason because of former North Carolina State QB, Russell Wilson, transferring there.  The Badgers play at Michigan State and Ohio State, but get Nebraska and Penn State at home.

No. 1 Team: Nebraska

5 of 6

    I'm giving the nod to the 'Huskers to win the inaugural Big Ten championship game.  If Martinez is healthy and if Tim Beck's offense is even remotely better than Shawn Watson's, the 'Huskers can do it. 

    They do face a doozy of a schedule, however. 

    They open up playing at Camp Randall and have other road games at Penn State and the Big House.  They also have the misfortune of playing the Buckeyes after the tattoo-gate players return.  They still should be able to do it, though.

Preseason Standings

6 of 6

    Leaders

    1. Wisconsin

    2. Ohio State

    3. Illinois

    4. Penn State

    5. Purdue

    6. Indiana

    Legends

    1. Nebraska

    2. Michigan State

    3. Iowa

    4. Michigan

    5. Northwestern

    6. Minnesota

    Even with all the turmoil, I see Ohio State coming in second in the Leaders.  Illinois is looking to build off its bowl victory and is slightly better than a Penn State team with questions at QB. 

    Purdue should be improved and should make a bowl game, if the injury bug doesn't plague the Boilermakers (again). Indiana will be at the bottom; though it could pull some upsets under new head coach Kevin Wilson.

    Never count out the Hawkeyes.  They will be in the title talk but will come up short.  Michigan is hard to predict with the new offense and how coach Brady Hoke will utilize Robinson. 

    Northwestern could be a surprise and, if Persa stays healthy, could turn some heads.  Minnesota will be the bottom-feeder but should be better than last year under new head coach Jerry Kill.