Penn State was picked to finish fourth in the Big Ten East behind Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State in a preseason poll conducted by Cleveland.com.
A total of 34 media members who cover the Big Ten participated in the poll.
Michigan was the choice of 20 voters to win the Big Ten East, followed by Ohio State (14). The Wolverines, with 17 first-place votes, edged Ohio State (14) as the choice to win the conference championship. Nebraska received two votes and Northwestern one.
If the Wolverines prove the voters correct, it would be their first conference title since 2004.
Nebraska was a narrow choice to win the West, with 198 voting points to Iowa’s 194.5. Both received 14 first-place votes, followed by Wisconsin with four and Northwestern and Minnesota with one each. The Cornhuskers were chosen anywhere from first to fifth in the voting while Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Minnesota received votes for first through sixth. Illinois was the choice to finish last in the West. Rutgers was chosen last in the East.
Voters chose Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, who gained 2,194 yards last year, as the offensive player of the year with 21 first-place votes. Penn State’s K.J. Hamler was ninth. Ohio State defensive end Chase Young was the choice for defensive player of the year, with eight first-place votes and 57 voting points. Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa was second, with nine first-place votes, but only 52 total points. Michigan State’s Kenny Willekes received more first-place votes than anyone (10), but only 41 total points.
Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos was fifth in the voting, with four voters picking him as the defensive player of the year. Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons finished 10th.
Voters chose three players, with three points awarded for first place, two for second and one for third.