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Northwestern picked to finish fourth in the Big Ten West

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The Wildcats are being underrated once again

NCAA Football: Outback Bowl-Northwestern vs Tennessee Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern is coming off of a 10-3 season and a second-place finish in the Big Ten West, but that doesn’t mean the Wildcats are getting any respect from the Big Ten media.

The sixth annual Big Ten preseason football poll was released Friday, and Iowa emerged as the overwhelming favorite in the division. The Hawkeyes received 33 first-place votes, while the second-place team, Nebraska, only got three.

Despite all this, one brave soul predicted a Michigan vs. Northwestern Big Ten Championship, while the majority predicted Ohio State vs. Iowa.

Of course, this is not an official Big Ten poll; no such poll exists. It’s run by cleveland.com, but it does show how the media feels about the conference as a whole.

While pegging Iowa as the division favorites is a fair opinion, Northwestern is a bit low for a team that only lost two conference games in 2015. Add on the fact that Wisconsin has a brutal schedule and Nebraska’s recent troubles and the Wildcats should probably be a bit higher. They’re not the favorites, but they shouldn’t be fourth.

Here’s the entire poll:

EAST

1. Ohio State 260.5 (31)

2. Michigan 241 (14)

3. Michigan State 195.5 (1)

4. Penn State 155.5

5. Indiana 110

6. Maryland 81.5

7. Rutgers 52

WEST

1. Iowa 265 (33)

2. Nebraska 206 (3)

3. Wisconsin 194.5 (2)

4. Northwestern 171.5 (1)

5. Minnesota 132 (1)

6. Illinois 76.5

7. Purdue 46.5