Like Rodney Dangerfield, the Big Ten, even with the addition of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, got little respect in the preseason Coaches Top 25 Poll!
Of course, it did not help that Ohio State self-destructed during the offseason; however, in the grand scheme of things, fans in the Big Ten can take consolation in the fact that the preseason poll means nothing compared to the one that ends the season.
Last year’s USA Today Coaches Poll ranked Ohio State at the No. 2 spot with Iowa at No. 10––both Big Ten teams making the Top 10 of the prestigious preseason poll.
In 2010 Wisconsin came in at No. 12 and Penn State at No. 14 in the preseason poll. Nebraska (9) was not yet a member of the Big Ten.
This year Wisconsin managed to come in at No. 10, Nebraska at No. 11, Ohio State at No. 16, and Michigan State at No. 17 while Penn State anchored the No. 25 spot.
So while the Big Ten did not find themselves included in the upper tier of the preseason ranking, they have five teams placed between 10 and 25 in the initial Coaches Poll.
The SEC scored the most with eight teams in the initial Top 25. The Big 12 added five teams.
The PAC-12 has two (USC cannot receive votes since they are on probation). The ACC scored two along with TCU and Boise State out of the Mountain West Conference. Notre Dame stands alone as an independent.
The Big Ten with its inaugural season featuring 12 teams in two divisions will expect to see the five teams placed in the Top 25 rise even higher in the polls.
Additionally, Big Ten officials hope Iowa, Northwestern and Michigan, who received top 25 votes, will climb into the Coaches Poll during the course of the 2011 season.