COLUMBUS — Ohio State was selected to repeat as Big Ten champion and the Buckeyes’ Ezekiel Elliott and Joey Bosa were predicted to be the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in a cleveland.com poll of 40 journalists who cover Big Ten football or college football nationally.
All 40 voters picked OSU to win the Big Ten East Division and all 40 said Michigan State would finish second. Penn State was voted third, followed by Michigan, Maryland, Rutgers and Indiana. In the West Division, Wisconsin was the overwhelming favorite with 32 votes, followed by Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Northwestern, Illinois and Purdue.
Thirty-two of the 40 voters also said Ohio State would beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game for the second year in a row.
Elliott received 31 first-place votes from the 39 people who voted for Offensive Player of the Year. Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook got three first-place votes. OSU quarterbacks Cardale Jones (two votes) and J.T. Barrett (one vote) also got first-place votes, as did whoever is the Buckeyes’ starting QB (two votes).
Bosa was No. 1 on 37 of the 38 ballots for Defensive Player of the Year. The other vote went to Maryland defensive back William Likely. That voter left Bosa off his ballot.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.