A preseason Big Ten media poll was released by cleveland.com today with the Ohio State Buckeyes occupying the top spot. In a close second were the Michigan State Spartans.
The poll was conducted by Cleveland.com who (big shock) picked Ohio State to win the Big Ten last year. The poll as tainted as it is raises an interesting question.
Who is the favorite to win the Big Ten?
When you look at the schedule the answer is clear. If you want to get to the Big Ten Championship the road goes through East Lansing.
After the addition of Rutgers the latest realignment of the Big Ten has Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State all packed into the conferences East Division. Gone are the days that any of the aforementioned teams can avoid each other on an unbalanced schedule.
That means the team emerging from the East Division could be determined by the results of two games in mid autumn. On October 25th the Michigan Wolverines visit East Lansing for the second year in a row. That game will be followed by Ohio State visiting Michigan State on November 8th under the lights at Spartan Stadium.
If the Michigan State Spartans can win both games they will be in complete control of the East Division, reducing the annual clash between Michigan and Ohio State to a grudge match. If either Ohio State or Michigan can beat the Spartans at home they could find themselves with a clear path to Indy.
Which ever team emerges victorious from that two-game stretch will find themselves in control of the division. But that can’t happen without winning in East Lansing.