Hoosiers In The Polls

Written by Lloyd Ribner III (@Ribner3

 Outside of the Grand Ballroom at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago

Outside of the Grand Ballroom at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago

With the media converging on Chicago this week the writers decided it was a good time to vote and announce their opinions on the upcoming Big Ten season.  While there are always biases and agendas amongst media members, the fact remains that they cover these teams daily, have access that most can only dream of, and for the most part attempt to hide those prejudices as much as possible.

While preseason polls and voting does not actually mean a thing, that does not stop our eyes from glancing to see where are team was ranked, or our coach was selected.  There is something about rankings that interests us, even if we say we don’t want to be.  It’s a human condition, and heck, its plain fun to see your schools name above their rivals. 

The Big Ten media had some good news for the Hoosiers as well as some “bad news”.  I believe that the bad news should really be tempered if you take a step back and look at it, which we will do in just a moment.  But first the good stuff!

Hoosiers Named Big Ten Team Most Likely To Surprise in 2013

That’s right, the conference media is giving the Hoosier program its due.  Those who cover the teams voted Indiana into the top spot under the category “Big Ten team that will be the most surprising this season”.  They did it in resounding fashion as well.  The Hoosiers received half of the 26 overall votes, more than doubling the support for second place Northwestern who received 6 votes.

In addition there were not any decanters, as the Hoosiers were one of four teams, along with Illinois, Ohio State and Purdue, to not receive a vote for “Big Ten team that will be most disappointing this season”.

Indiana being a surprise team won’t come as a shock to Hoosiers fans that have raised their expectations heading into 2013.  However, knowing that the rest of the conference recognizes the growth of the program should be a feather in their cap.

Here are the full voting results of both polls:

Big Ten team that will be most disappointing this season

1. Michigan State 6

2. Michigan 5

3. Northwestern 4

3. Iowa 4

5. Nebraska 3

6. Penn State 2

7. Minnesota 1

7. Wisconsin 1

Big Ten team that will be the most surprising this season

1. Indiana 13

2. Northwestern 6

3. Michigan State 2

4. Purdue 2

5. Iowa 1

6. Wisconsin 1

7. Minnesota 1

Coach Kevin Wilson Gets Shutout of Best Coach Balloting

Alright, so the headline looks ugly, and to be honest, can we really blame them?  During the first two years of Wilson’s tenure he has compiled a 5-19 record with just two Big Ten wins to his name.  On paper it is far from inspiring.   However, when you delve deeper into the issues facing the program, and the personnel turnover the head coach had to deal with, you know that the head coach had more to do than just win on Saturdays. 

Furthermore, the voting for this award is rather slanted, and hard to break into.  Voters pick their top three candidates and the votes are tallied up.  First and foremost I think it would be rather difficult for anyone to knock Ohio State’s Urban Meyer, who received 21 of the 26 first place votes, off his perch.  Then you have the underdog story of Pat Fitzgerald at his alma mater Northwestern, as well as the trials and tribulations paired with a major program that Bill O’Brien has to deal with.

That being said coaches like Brady Hoke, who has supposedly returned the luster back to a legendary Michigan program and Nebraska’s Bo Pelini who is one of just 11 coaches in history to win nine games in each of his five years were both sitting outside of the top-4. 

Basically what I am trying to say is, this is a tough list to crack.  So it shouldn’t be looked at as a negative that Kevin Wilson didn’t make the list.  Instead, the more tempered approach would be that him not being included on the list at all will lead to even more votes for Big Ten coach of the year should the team cooperate with the medias expectations and shock the conference.

Here are the full voting results:

Best coach balloting (voters picked top three)

(First-place votes) Total points

1. Urban Meyer, Ohio State (21) 71

2. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern (4) 44

3. Bill O'Brien, Penn State (1) 15

4. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State 10

5. Brady Hoke, Michigan 9

6. Bo Pelini, Nebraska 2