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Northwestern picked fourth in the West in Big Ten preseason poll

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The Wildcats face a tough road in the deep Big Ten West.

Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten stopped doing a media poll a few years back, because ... well it's hard to say. However, thanks to Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com, the tradition lives on.

Lesmerises put together a poll with two voters from each school's pool of beat writers — I was one of the voters for NU, along with the Tribune's Teddy Greenstein — and Adam Rittenberg of ESPN and Phil Steele to vote on the order of finish in each division, the conference champion and the players of the year on both sides of the ball. The results of the voting for the latter two should come out soon.

It's no surprise, but Ohio State came in first place in the East Division and is the favorite to win the conference. Meanwhile, Wisconsin is favored to win the West, while Northwestern came in fourth place, but did get one first-place vote. Here's a look at the whole poll:

Big Ten East

  1. Ohio State, 195 points (23 first-place votes)
  2. Michigan State, 180 points (10)
  3. Michigan, 136 points
  4. Penn State, 105.5 points
  5. Maryland, 84 points
  6. Indiana, 78.5 points
  7. Rutgers, 33 points

Big Ten West

  1. Wisconsin, 183.5 points (15)
  2. Iowa, 173 points (11)
  3. Nebraska, 157.7 points (5)
  4. Northwestern, 112 points (1)
  5. Minnesota, 96.5 points
  6. Illinois, 58 points
  7. Purdue, 31.5 points

Picks to win Big Ten Championship

Ohio State 19, Michigan State 9, Nebraska 1

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And, FWIW, here's my ballot:

Big Ten East

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan State
3. Michigan
4. Maryland
5. Penn State
6. Indiana
7. Rutgers

Big Ten West

1. Wisconsin
2. Iowa
T-3. Nebraska
T-3. Northwestern
5. Minnesota
6. Illinois
7. Purdue

Big Ten Championship Game

Ohio State def. Wisconsin

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Your turn! What are your thoughts on the poll (and my ballot) and how do you see the division races shaping up?