Our biggest surprises in first Coaches Poll

The 2014 preseason Coaches Poll came out Thursday morning, and while four Big Ten teams appear in the top-25 rankings, there are several surprises that stand out. Where is Michigan on the list, or how about Iowa? Which Big Ten teams are ranked too high, or too low? Our BTN.com panelists sounded off on the biggest surprises from the preseason polls.

Check out Tom Dienhart’s latest posts:

Tom Dienhart: Iowa being unranked: I was a bit miffed that Iowa wasn’t ranked in the Coaches Poll. Conversely, division rivals Wisconsin (14) and Nebraska (22) both were ranked. In my mind, the Hawkeyes are the team to beat in the Big Ten West. They have a very favorable schedule. In fact, I think Iowa will be favored in every game but one this season: at Pitt. Personnel-wise, the Hawkeyes have the best combination offensive-defensive line in the Big Ten, an emerging quarterback in Jake Rudock and a collection of good running backs. There are concerns, as the linebacking corps is being rebuilt and depth on the o-line and at safety are issues. Still, there is a lot to like about Iowa in 2014.

Sean Merriman: Michigan State being ranked below both Ohio State: Ohio State is a top-10 team, no doubt about it. But what I don’t understand is how Michigan State is ranked behind OSU in the preseason poll. Not only did the Spartans beat the Buckeyes in last year’s Big Ten Championship game, they return more starters (13) than OSU (12). Urban Meyer’s team must find a way to replace its top running back, wide receiver and four starting offensive linemen. On defense, the Buckeyes will have the challenge of replacing their top linebacker (Ryan Shazier) and three of four starters in the secondary. Of course, the Spartans have to replace a decent amount of talent as well, especially on defense. But on the contrary, Mark Dantonio’s team returns its top running back, wide receiver and three starters on the offensive line. On defense, the Spartans return reigning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year Shilique Calhoun, as well as All-Big Ten safety Kurtis Drummond. Both of these teams are worthy of a top-10 ranking, but it seems like they should be flipped.

Brent Yarina: Wisconsin at No. 14. Are the Badgers a top 15 team? Maybe at some point this season, but not right now. Not when the Badgers must replace their entire front seven on defense, have no proven wide receiver, and are still deciding on a quarterback to throw to the aforementioned unproven pass-catchers. This is a team that went 9-4 and finished No. 21 in the same poll last season, and that was with what most consider to be a more talented team. Simply put, there are too many questions Wisconsin must answer before it can be considered top-15 material.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (13 Comments)
bigtengrad on 7/31/2014 @ 3:23pm EDT Said:

Here’s why you’re miffed (again) Tom. Just because your iowa team has a soft schedule does not warrant a higher ranking. And speaking of their schedule, if Pitt or Maryland knocks them off, you know you were wrong. I wouldn’t be miffed if that happened.

DH Iowa FAN on 7/31/2014 @ 5:51pm EDT Said:

Tom isn’t with Iowa he’s just an analyst. Iowa needs to prove they can win during a season with a winnable schedule. In the past Iowa has excelled at tough schedules and struggled against cupcakes. Hopefully Iowa pans out as the team is a solid team capable of a good season.

HawkFan81 on 7/31/2014 @ 5:55pm EDT Said:

This is why I hate pre-season polls. bigtengrad is right. IF Iowa loses to Maryland or Pitt, then it’s “gee, guess Tom was wrong about Iowa.” IF they run the table, then it’s “they should have been ranked from the beginning.” My opinion, no polls should be ALLOWED until Week 5 of the season, when teams actually have a chance to do something. Preseason polls are all hype, and are rarely based on more than legend, reputation, and how much elbow-rubbing the coaches do with ESPN.

WelshyHawk on 7/31/2014 @ 5:56pm EDT Said:

As an Iowa fan I’d agree with you, bigtengrad. The schedule isn’t an indicator of how good a team will be. The schedule may be on the soft side but the Hawks need to show that they can beat the teams they are supposed to beat, and do it without much drama, before breaking into the top 25.

Darwin on 7/31/2014 @ 5:57pm EDT Said:

bigtengrad, If its not Ohio Stump, Or Amazed and blue nothing Tom rights is ever correct!!!

Darwin on 7/31/2014 @ 5:59pm EDT Said:

Lets see if he catches it!!!

MSU#1-Rose Bowl Win, B1G Champs! 13-1! 42 wins in 4 years! on 7/31/2014 @ 6:57pm EDT Said:

Go Green!🙂

Jerry on 7/31/2014 @ 7:00pm EDT Said:

At the end of the season it will be Green & White yet again and the Nut lovers will be shaking their heads again

SteveInEvanston on 7/31/2014 @ 8:38pm EDT Said:

So Iowa’s schedule looks setup nicely for them, NOW!?!
The truth is you can’t win anything on paper unless you are the 4th best team or lower in the SEC.
We know the writers are teasing IOWA to go 12 and 0, right?
But you still really don’t know what the other teams on the schedule are bringing? Some of them will be brining enough to beat Iowa. And it does not even matter if it’s not by all that much.

So by the end of September they will likely be 5 and 0 or 4 and 1.

In October they see only Indiana and Maryland due to two bye weeks.
Until you see what Indiana has done up till this point, who knows what they will be bringing?
And Maryland is an unknown. A sleeping Iowa could possibly lose this by a field goal.

Then in November it gets real. At least for 4 out of 5 weeks it does. Then again, I’m asking the question, what is a Wes Lunt lead Illini team bringing??? That game is in Champaign. I see two losses for sure in this period
I see 7 – 9 wins For the Hawkeyes over all.

Braxton on 8/1/2014 @ 4:28am EDT Said:

Ohio State is the team to beat. MSU is a 5 loss team in 2014.

Go Bucks!


Blake Williams on 8/1/2014 @ 4:35pm EDT Said:

Hate all you want Sparty is used to it. We are building a green machine that is going to grind right through all the rodents and nuts in the land. #Spartandawgs

Doug on 8/1/2014 @ 11:57pm EDT Said:

Poor Braxton, you sound like a Missed again fan lol

David on 8/3/2014 @ 6:21pm EDT Said:

Nebraska should not be ranked in the Top 25 as they more often than not get blown up by the good teams.

Wisconsin at 15 is too high as they have a lot of holes to fill defensively

OSU and MSU about right