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2014 Big Ten preseason picks topped by Ohio State, Braxton Miller

The Buckeyes are considered the Big Ten's best hope to make the College Football Playoff.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten stopped putting out an official preseason media poll a few years ago, but thanks to Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com, the tradition lives on. Lesmerises assembled a poll with votes from two beat writers for each Big Ten team, along with ESPN.com Big Ten reporter Adam Rittenberg and Phil Steele.

There were no surprises in this year's poll. Ohio State, with 23 first-place votes, is the favorite to win the East Division and the conference. The Buckeyes' main challenger in the East will be Michigan State, which finished with 10 first-place votes, though that division appears to be top-heavy. While Wisconsin is favored in the West, that division is much more wide-open, as four teams received first-place votes.

Here's a look at the projected division standings and the conference champion. The media also picked offensive and defensive players of the year.

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

Defensive Player of the Year

  1. Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State (13)
  2. Randy Gregory, Nebraska (10)
  3. Michael Bennett, Ohio State (4)
  4. Joey Bosa, Ohio State (1)
  5. Jake Ryan, Michigan (1)

Offensive Player of the Year

  1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State (21)
  2. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (5)
  3. Ameer Abdullah (2)
  4. Christian Hackenberg (1)
The Big Ten does do an official preseason all-conference team, though:

QUARTERBACK
Braxton Miller, Ohio State (13 votes)
Christian Hackenberg, Penn State (1)

RUNNING BACK
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (13)
Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska (12)
Jeremy Langford, Michigan State (2)
Tevin Coleman, Indiana; Venric Mark, Northwestern (1)

WIDE RECEIVER
Stefon Diggs, Maryland (12)
Devin Funchess, Michigan (7)
Kenny Bell, Nebraska; Shane Wynn, Indiana (4)
Tony Lippett, Michigan State (1)

TIGHT END
Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State (7)
Tyler Kroft, Rutgers (3)
Jesse James, Penn State; Maxx Williams, Minnesota (2)

CENTER
Jack Allen, Michigan State (10)
Dan Voltz, Wisconsin (2)
Austin Blythe, Iowa; Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern (1)

GUARD
Zac Epping, Minnesota (7)
Kyle Costigan, Wisconsin (6)
Jake Cotton, Nebraska; Kaleb Johnson, Rutgers (5)
Pat Elfein, Ohio State (3)
Jordan Walsh, Iowa; Josh Campion, Minnesota (1)

TACKLE
Brandon Scherff, Iowa (14)
Rob Havenstein, Wisconsin (9)
Donovan Smith, Penn State; Jason Spriggs, Indiana (2)
Keith Lumpkin, Rutgers (1)

KICKER
Michael Geiger, Michigan State (11)
Brad Craddock, Maryland (2)
Sam Ficken, Penn State (1)

***

DEFENSIVE LINE
Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State (14)
Randy Gregory, Nebraska (14)
Michael Bennett, Ohio State (10)
Joey Bosa, Ohio State (9)
Carl Davis, Iowa (6)
Andre Monroe, Maryland; Ryan Russell, Purdue (1)

LINEBACKER
Jake Ryan, Michigan (13)
Chi Chi Ariguzo, Northwestern (10)
Taiwan Jones, Michigan State (9)
Mike Hull, Penn State (6)
Steve Longa, Rutgers (2)
Mason Monheim, Illinois; Desmond Morgan, Michigan; David Santos, Nebraska; Curtis Grant, Ohio State (1)

DEFENSIVE BACK
Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State (14)
Blake Countess, Michigan (9)
Ibraheim Campbell, Northwestern (8)
Trae Waynes, Michigan State (7)
Jordan Lucas, Penn State (5)
Doran Grant, Ohio State (3)
Desmond King, Iowa; Corey Cooper, Nebraska; Adrian Amos, Penn State (2)
Earnest Thomas, Illinois; John Lowdermilk, Iowa; William Likely, Maryland; Eric Murray, Minnesota (1)

PUNTER
Mike Sadler, Michigan State (9)
Cameron Johnston, Ohio State (4)
Peter Mortell, Minnesota (1)

***

SUPERLATIVES

COACH OF THE YEAR
Urban Meyer, Ohio State (6)
Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; Gary Andersen, Wisconsin (3)
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa; Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern (1)

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Braxton Miller, Ohio State (11)
Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (2)
Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska (1)

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State (7)
Randy Gregory, Nebraska (5)
Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State; Joey Bosa, Ohio State (1)

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Jabrill Peppers, Michigan (11)
Johnnie Dixon, Ohio State; Raekwon McMillian, Ohio State; Gelen Robinson, Purdue (1)