Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, July 23, 2013

In a preseason poll of writers who cover Big Ten teams conducted by, Ohio State was the heavy favorite to win the Big Ten. No shock there.

Michigan was the choice to win the Legends. The most surprising team? Indiana. The most disappointing? Michigan State. I agree on those last two items. As for the Legends champ, I like Nebraska. And, yes, Ohio State should win the Big Ten. The poll is in its third year, after the Big Ten ended its traditional media poll at the request of the coaches before the 2011 season. The league's media days, where the poll had been conducted, are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. Here are the full results.

NOT CAMPING THIS YEAR: Minnesota QB Philip Nelson had a shot to work at an elite quarterback camp this summer. But the Gophers don?t want him to. At least not yet.

It makes sense. Minnesota QB coach Jim Zebrowski wants his rising sophomore passer to stay around and help groom the even younger Gopher signal-callers like redshirt freshman Mitch Leidner and true freshman Chris Streveler. Check on this nice Q&A with Zebrowski by Marcus Fuller of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

WAY TO GO, COACH HOKE! How classy is this: A boy-and Ohio State fan–who has cancer that he named ?Michigan? has been invited to attend the Buckeye-Wolverine game by Brady Hoke.

TALKING URBAN MEYER: The great Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports has an interesting take on Urban Meyer, whose holier-than-thou attitude is more difficult to justify these days.

This is an interesting read and take on a coach who in many respects has become a polarizing figure. Like him or not, Meyer is a very good on-field coach who knows how to win. And, in the end, that?s what seems to matter most, right?

10 QUESTIONS: Bob Asmussen of the Champaign News-Gazette has 10 questions on his mind. And one is who will play in the BCS national title game. His answer: It?s Ohio State vs. Alabama. I think he may be correct. If so, that would be a great opportunity for the Big Ten to make a statement that it is back on the national scene. If you are going to be the best, you have to walk through the best.

WATCH THESE PLAYERS: The Big Ten talent level is down, according to Sam McKewon of But it?s on the rise. Here is his list of Big Ten players to watch, led by Braxton Miller.

The biggest surprise? Seeing Iowa TE C.J. Fiedorowicz at No. 17. Really?

TRANSITION TIME FOR NITTANY LIONS: Penn State is transitioning quarterbacks, from Matt McGloin to ? likely true freshman Christian Hackenberg. It?s an exciting time-and scary, too. History has shown it usually is an unsuccessful time for the Nittany Lions when they move from one quarterback era to another.

Guys like Dayle Tate; Doug Strang; Matt Knizner; John Sacca have tried to follow great Penn State quarterbacks. And, well, it didn?t go so well.

2012 MEDIA DAYS REVISITED: Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette revisited 2012 Big Ten media days. If only some of these questions had been asked. (Prepare to laugh.)


My take: This is an amazing factoid. And speaks to the lack of ultra-productive Penn State receivers over time.

My take: Yes, this should be interesting.

My take: I agree. I don?t think Nelson is a total lock for the spot.

My take: Let?s all stand and applaud. This is great news!

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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