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Northwestern picked to finish second in Big Ten West in unofficial media poll

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The hype is real.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Northwestern Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland.com released its annual, unofficial Big Ten media poll this morning, with responses from 38 writers spanning all 14 teams in the conference. There are a few interesting things to note in the poll, but one stands out above the rest.

Northwestern is projected to finish second in the West.

The Wildcats even got 5 first-place votes within the division. Here’s how the voting broke down.

BIG TEN WEST

1. Wisconsin, 259 points (31 first-place votes)

2. Northwestern, 219 (5)

3. Nebraska, 176.5 (2)

4. Iowa, 164.5

5. Minnesota, 131

6. Purdue, 57

6. Illinois, 57

If you’re curious, here’s the East.

BIG TEN EAST

1. Ohio State, 260 points (34 first-place votes)

2. Penn State, 231.5 (7)

3. Michigan, 192 (1)

4. Michigan State, 128

5. Indiana, 114

6. Maryland, 100.5

7. Rutgers, 38

And here’s every forecasted outcome of the Big Ten Championship Game.

Ohio State over Wisconsin (22)

Ohio State over Northwestern (5)

Ohio State over Nebraska (2)

Wisconsin over Ohio State (3)

Wisconsin over Penn State (1)

Penn State over Wisconsin (4)

Michigan over Wisconsin (1)

The poll also asked voters for their preseason offensive and defensive players of the year. Justin Jackson finished fourth in OPOY voting, with one first place vote, and Godwin Igwebuike came in 12th in DPOY voting. Here are the full results.

BIG TEN PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB, 103 points (30 first-place votes)

2. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State QB, 59 points (5)

3. Trace McSorley, Penn State QB, 30 points (2)

4. Justin Jackson, Northwestern RB, 25 points (1)

5. Mike Weber, Ohio State RB, 2 points

5. L.J. Scott, Michigan State RB, 2 points

5. Alex Hornibrook, Wisconsin QB, 2 points

5. Rodney Smith, Minnesota RB, 2 points

9. Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin TE, 1 point

9. Simmie Cobbs, Indiana WR, 1 point

9. Jamarco Jones, Ohio State LT, 1 point

PRESEASON BIG TEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State DE, 61 points (11 first-place votes)

2. Josey Jewell, Iowa LB, 59 points (12)

3. Rashan Gary, Michigan DE, 23 points (3)

4. Tegray Scales, Indiana LB, 19 points (4)

5. Jerome Baker, Ohio State LB, 12 points (2)

6. Sam Hubbard, Ohio State DE, 11 points (2)

7. Jack Cichy, Wisconsin LB, 10 points (1)

8. Maurice Hurst, Michigan DT, 9 points (1)

9. Marcus Allen, Penn State S, 9 points

10. T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin LB, 7 points (1)

11. Nick Bosa, Ohio State, DE 4 points (1)

12. Godwin Igwebuike, Northwestern S, 2 points

13. Steven Richardson, Minnesota DT, 1 point

13. Blessuan Austin, Rutgers CB, 1 point

At 5-4, Northwestern finished tied for fourth in the West division in 2016. However, the arrow is pointing up as the Wildcats return plenty of key pieces from a team that nearly beat Ohio State and took down Pitt in the Pinstripe Bowl. What do you think? Is this prediction justified, or is the hype train running out of control?

Poll

Where will Northwestern finish in the West?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    1st
    (256 votes)
  • 24%
    2nd
    (108 votes)
  • 13%
    3rd
    (59 votes)
  • 2%
    4th
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    5th or *gasp* worse
    (6 votes)
438 votes total Vote Now