Starting this year The Big Ten Media Days will be without one of their favorite crutches: the voted-on media picks to carry us from July into September. Gone is the predicted order of finish, as well as the offensive and defensive "Preseason Player Of The Year Award," something that never made logical sense anyway.
Not exactly a civilization regressing, according to ESPN's count:
Given that the media poll was batting less than .500 on preseason picks since 1996, perhaps they have a point.
That's actually way worse than it sounds: The league crowned at least two champions -- two/three/four times the odds! -- eight times in 15 years. There's more math here: That's 1.7 champions per season. This is all on top of Ohio State's relatively easy-to-see run over the last four to five years.
DocSat calls this "a lot less fun for fans," 11W was "curious" and wanted RECORD FOUR STRAIGHT, and Mgo says it's going "the wrong direction," but I disagree with just about everyone here. This whole thing was only ever a free column for sportswriters. Back to ESPN:
Still, this would have been an exceptionally intriguing year to take the pulse of those who cover the league closely. Would Ohio State be expected to win at least share of its seventh straight conference title (vacated ones included)? Is Wisconsin the new favorite? How is Nebraska viewed coming into its first year of Big Ten play? We won't get any of that, not officially at least.
Given the stats (thanks for those, by the way), it seems kind of silly to then suggest there's any value in the guesses of people who have proven over a decade and a half to be very bad at guessing. There's also the issue of homerism and overrepresentation brought up by user SubLime [Somebody reads the fanshots!], making the data bad to begin with. Let's not waste our time, there are plenty of other things to write about.
As for that second point:
...[In the TV show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire] The ‘experts' did okay, offering the right answer - under pressure - almost 65 percent of the time [Better than B1G writers, apparently -ed]. But they paled into comparison to the audiences. Those random crowds of people with nothing better to do on a weekday afternoon than sit in a TV studio picked the right answer 91 percent of the time.
The Internet is a big place, and while the Big Ten might stop officially counting the people they officially deem "media," that hardly matters. There are reputation-risking "real" expert predictions out there, for starters, not to mention entire sports networks of writers following college football as closely as anyone credentialed to do so.
There are 37 million returns via search for "Nebraska joins the Big Ten," many will offer up expectations. Ohio State is likely to have more representatives at the event than Wisconsin. Terrelle Pryor is and always will be the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, at least in our hearts. There, I just saved someone in Chicago a lot of counting.