Phil Steele has released his all-Big Ten projections for 2011. I did some analysis-like stuff based on what I saw in it.
Image and tea leaf reading after the jump.
I awarded teams points based on the following arbitrary point system: 4 points for a first teamer, 3 for a second, 2 for a third, 1 for a fourth. The points:
1. Wisconsin - 36
2. Michigan State - 33
3. Penn State / Ohio State - 30
5. Iowa - 28
6. Northwestern - 27
7. Purdue / Michigan - 19
9. Illinois / Nebraska - 18
11. Minnesota - 8
12. Indiana - 5
And rank teams by the total number of selections:
1. Penn State - 14
2. Wisconsin - 13
3. Ohio State - 12
4. Michigan State / Northwestern - 11
6. Iowa - 10
7. Michigan / Purdue / Illinois / Nebraska - 8
11. Minnesota - 3
12. Indiana - 2
Ranked by average ranking of the two:
1. Wisconsin (1.5)
2. Penn State (2)
3. Michigan State / Ohio State (3)
5. Northwestern (5)
6. Iowa (5.5)
7. Michigan / Purdue (7)
9. Illinois / Nebraska (8)
11. Minnesota (11)
12. Indiana (12)
Things that become readily apparent / tea leaf reading:
--Phil seems to divide the 2011 Big Ten into 4 very specific tiers. The labels are mine, not his
The contenders: Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State. FWIW, I couldn't agree more on the latter 3. If one of those three doesn't win the Big Ten, I will be surprised.
Not quite contenders: Northwestern, Iowa. Phil seems to think these teams are very much candidates to be playing in New Year's Day bowl games, but not quite good enough to threaten for the league.
Bowl teams but not much better than that: Michigan, Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska 7ish win teams. For Purdue, that's exciting. For Nebraska, that's a big disappointment. You're not in the Big 12 North anymore.
It could be another long year: Minnesota, Indiana. New coaches taking over bad teams. Not exactly a surprise.
--In spite of the avoidance of Michigan State, the scheduling gods have a thing against Penn State. Three of PSU's road games come against Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Northwestern, all three of which are teams Phil seems to think are decidedly top half teams, two of which Phil thinks are contenders. So yeah, the road to Lucas Oil Stadium is a bumpy one for PSU.
--7 of Penn State's 14 selections come from the first three teams of the defensive side of the ball. Should be a return to form for the PSU defense from a painfully average 2010.
--The top 6 and bottom 2 teams are both evenly divided amongst the two divisions, at least for this year.
--No Bolden or McGloin. Try to contain your shock. But when looking at the QBs who did get selected, it's hardly a slap in the face to them. They're all either extremely good college QBs (Robinson, Persa) or guys currently making draft gurus drool (Cousins, Martinez).
--No Pryor. This will do serious damage to his chances of a third straight preseason Big Ten POY award.