Many media members who cover the Big Ten believe the University of Wisconsin football team has closed the gap on Ohio State as the conference’s best.
The Buckeyes were picked to win the Big Ten title in the eighth annual Cleveland.com preseason survey, but garnered just one more vote than the Badgers.
Of the 28 voters, 14 chose Ohio State, 13 picked Wisconsin and one opted for Michigan State — the first time in seven years the vote has been this close.
UW received all 28 votes to win the Big Ten West, with the rest of the division’s standings predicted in the order of Iowa, Northwestern, Nebraska, Purdue, Minnesota and Illinois.
The Spartans were the second-place choice in the East Division, but only 1.5 points separated Michigan State, Penn State and Michigan. Voters picked Maryland to finish fifth in the East, followed by Indiana and Rutgers.
Wisconsin inside linebacker T.J. Edwards finished third in the preseason Defensive Player of the Year voting behind Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa and Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary. Safety D’Cota Dixon and nose tackle Olive Sagapolu also received one vote, finishing in a tie for eighth.
UW running back Jonathan Taylor was the second choice for the conference’s preseason Offensive Player of the Year, five points behind Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley.