Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, August 1, 2012

The Sporting News released its preseason college football poll.

LSU is No. 1. No big shock there. But, let?s get to the important stuff: How does the Big Ten stack up?

Michigan is No. 8.
Wisconsin is No. 12.
Michigan State is No. 13.
Nebraska is No. 17.
Ohio State is No. 22.

My two cents:

– Look, I love Michigan, but that schedule scares the bejeezus out of me. And the defense? It isn?t ready-made to dominate, especially up front.

– I have said time and again that I feel Ohio State has the most talented team. Couple that with shiny new coach Urban Meyer and an angry team that?s locked out of the postseason and banned from winning the Big Ten-along with a nice schedule-and, well, the Buckeyes may end up being the highest-rated team in the Big Ten come December.

– I like Michigan State almost as much as Ohio State. Yes, I know all about the new quarterback and receivers. Doesn?t matter. The Spartans will dominate because of four things:

1. Great defense
2. Awesome offensive line
3. Running back Le?Veon Bell
4. Top staff is hungry for school?s first Rose Bowl since-are you ready for this?-the 1987 season

– Wisconsin is about dead-on with its ranking, even with Montee Ball?s short-term status unknown. If this team isn?t in Indy playing for the Big Ten title, I will go on a Cheez Whiz diet for a week.

– Nebraska is a bit of a mystery to me. There is lots to prove on defense. This was an average unit with Alfonzo Dennard, Lavonte David and Jared Crick. They are gone. Now, the defense is better? And the offense needs improved balance. I?m looking at you, Taylor Martinez. senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at, and you can subscribe to it all via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.

And if you want to leave a comment on this post, use the box below. All comments need to be approved by a moderator.