The Gophers football team was picked to finish second behind Wisconsin in the Big Ten West in the Cleveland.com preseason poll that was conducted for a 10th consecutive year, despite the fact it is uncertain if the conference will play this season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Big Ten has announced it will not play nonconference games and is planning to release a conference-only schedule at this point.
The Badgers won the Big Ten West last season by beating the Gophers in the regular-season finale at TCF Bank Stadium. A panel of at least one beat writer from all 14 teams in the Big Ten and others who cover the league or college football nationally gave Wisconsin 19 first-place votes and 221 points. The Gophers received 14 first-place votes and 209.5 points. Northwestern got the other first-place vote in the West.
Ohio State received 33 of 34 first-place votes to win the East Division and the Big Ten title. Penn State got the other vote to win the East and the league title. The Buckeyes went 9-0 in the Big Ten in 2019 and won their third consecutive Big Ten championship game. This marked the sixth time in the past eight years that Ohio State was voted the preseason favorite.
The voting worked with each writer voting 1-7 in both divisions. First-place votes were worth seven points, second place worth six, third place worth five …
Here is the Cleveland.com preseason poll for both divisions:
BIG TEN WEST
1. Wisconsin 221 points (19 first-place votes)
2. Gophers 209.5 (14)
3. Iowa 157 points
4. Nebraska 117 points
5. Purdue 105 points
6. Northwestern 87.5 points (1)
7. Illinois 55 points
BIG TEN EAST
1. Ohio State 237 points (33)
2. Penn State 204 points (1)
3. Michigan 169 points
4. Indiana 134 points
5. Michigan State 94 points
6. Maryland 76 points
7. Rutgers 38 points
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PREDICTIONS
Ohio State over Wisconsin (19)
Ohio State over Minnesota (13)
Ohio State over Northwestern (1)
Penn State over Minnesota (1)