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Big Ten media writers predicting a third-straight East Division crown for the Wolverines

Michigan is projected to beat out the Buckeyes in the East Division, and it’s not even close.

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Ben Jackson/Getty Images

A newly released poll shows that those in attendance at this year's Big Ten Media Days will be expecting great things from the Michigan Wolverines this year. Michigan is projected to win the Big Ten East, earning 27 first-place votes among polled writers, the most of any team in the conference. This is the first time in four years that the Ohio State Buckeyes, who received eight first-place votes, haven’t been projected to represent the East Division in Indianapolis; writers project them to finish second to the Wolverines.

The final two first-place votes out of 37 cast went to Penn State, who the majority of writers project to finish third in the east. Maryland is projected to finish in fourth place as they return starting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa to a team that gave the Wolverines a scare last season. They’re followed by the Michigan State Spartans, who will be in somewhat of a rebuild after losing their starting quarterback Payton Thorne and talented wide receiver Keon Coleman to the transfer portal. Rounding out the list are the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at sixth and the Indiana Hoosiers at seventh.

On the other side of the Big Ten Conference, media members selected the Wisconsin Badgers as the favorite to win the West Division. Writers showed their confidence in the Badger’s new head coach, Luke Fickell, giving his team 20 votes to finish first place in the West. While they don’t match up against Michigan this year, they will have a big game against former Wolverines Cade McNamara and Erik All, who are now Iowa Hawkeyes. Writers projected them to finish second in the West with 16 first-place votes. The Minnesota Golden Gophers earned one first-place vote from writers, who expect P.J. Fleck’s team to finish third in the West.

Illinois impressed a lot of college football fans last season with some quality wins and a performance where they nearly knocked off the Wolverines at the Big House. Writers projected the Illini to finish fourth in the West, followed by the Nebraska Cornhuskers under first-year head coach Matt Rhule. After making an appearance in their first-ever Big Ten Championship game last season, the luster seems like it’s worn off for the Purdue Boilermakers, who writers project to finish sixth in the West. Rounding out the division is the Northwestern Wildcats, who don’t typically have high hopes on the football field. However, this year those expectations might have hit rock bottom after firing established head coach Pat Fitzgerald under hazing allegations.

It’s unclear if the writers would have voted differently had they known about the potential suspension facing Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and other members of his staff for alleged false statements he said to NCAA investigators while they were looking into potential recruiting violations.

Tell us who you think will come out on top for a showdown in Indianapolis in the comments!