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Poll: MSU to finish 2nd in Big Ten East, UM 4th

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Michigan State has national championships aspirations heading into the 2015 season. But according to a poll of Big Ten writers, the Spartans won’t win their division.

Ohio State, the defending national champion, was a unanimous pick to win the Big Ten East and the Big Ten Championship game in a poll conducted by Cleveland.com.

The Buckeyes received all 40 votes to finish ahead of second-place Michigan State in the East. Penn State was picked to finish third and Michigan was fourth. Wisconsin received 32 first-place votes to win the West while Nebraska was picked second (five first-place votes) and Minnesota was third (three first-place votes).

All 40 voters picked Ohio State to win the conference championship game.

Voters also voted Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott as the preseason offensive player of the year, followed by Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook and Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones.

Ohio State defensive end Joey Bosa was selected the top defensive player, followed by Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun and Penn State defensive tackle Anthony Zettel. Michigan State linebacker Ed Davis also received two votes and Michigan linebacker Joe Bolden got one vote.

This is the fifth year Cleveland.com has conducted the poll since the Big Ten stopped taking votes for a preseason poll. At the the Big Ten’s media days that run Thursday and Friday in Chicago, the conference will release a list of 10 players to watch with five from each division.

EAST

1. Ohio State 280 points (40 first-place votes)

2. Michigan State 240

3. Penn State 186.5

4. Michigan 163.5

5. Maryland 95.5

6. Rutgers 78

7. Indiana 76.5

WEST

1. Wisconsin 272 (32)

2. Nebraska 231.5 (5)

3. Minnesota 197 (3)

4. Iowa 158.5

5. Northwestern 125

6. Illinois 77

7. Purdue 59

Big Ten Championship

Ohio State over Wisconsin (32 votes)

Ohio State over Nebraska (5)

Ohio State over Minnesota (3)

Preseason Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year voting

1. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State RB, 105 points (31 first-place votes)

2. Connor Cook, Michigan State QB, 57 (3)

3. Cardale Jones, Ohio State QB, 19 (2)

4. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State QB, 15 (1)

5. Corey Clement, Wisconsin RB, 15

6. Christian Hackenberg, Penn State QB, 9

6. Ohio State quarterbacks 9 (2)

8. Braxton Miller, Ohio State H-back, 3

9. Wes Lunt, Illinois QB, 2

Preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year voting

1. Joey Bosa, Ohio State DE, 111 points (37 first-place votes)

2. Shilique Calhoun, Michigan State DE, 50

3. Anthony Zettel, Penn State DT, 25

4. Darron Lee, Ohio State LB, 18

5. William Likely, Maryland CB, 8 (1)

6. Maliek Collins, Nebraska DE, 5

7. Vince Biegel, Wisconsin LB, 2

7. Ed Davis, Michigan State LB, 2

7. Vonn Bell, Ohio State S, 2

10. Joe Bolden, Michigan LB, 1

10. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan S, 1

10. Darius Hamilton, Rutgers DT, 1

10. Eric Murray, Minnesota CB, 1

10. Michael Caputo, Wisconsin S, 1

matt.charboneau@detroitnews.com

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