Every major media outlet this time of year has come out with their own preseason rankings, whether it's overall or conference standings. ESPN has their list, Sports Illustrated has their list. For the most part, it looks like some of them are looking over and cheating off their classmates since they look so similar. I'm going to examine the AP poll first, since that's the one primarily used by ESPN and fans nationwide.
Here you will find a link for ESPN Big Ten bloggers that have given their predictions for the season. I've already given mine a few months ago. Now, obviously, if you compare the two, I disagree with them both since I don't agree with Michigan State beating Wisconsin. I had predicted Michigan beating Wisconsin, and I stand by that. So the poll says Michigan is the top Big Ten team and I won't dissent to that. Wisconsin at 12 should be above West Virginia and Arkansas, but not South Carolina. Marcus Lattimore drives that team and should have a stellar season back from injury. I'm good with Michigan State right behind them. Nebraska at 17 and Ohio State at 18 make sense, yet USA Today doesn't even have the Buckeyes ranked. Postseason ineligible or not, they should be ranked above Auburn, Boise St, etc...
Below you will see both polls for USA Today and AP Top 25. The AP poll is the one primarily used to rank teams for the first few weeks of the season, and then the BCS rankings start later in the season. I won't go into the formula that they use, but it's more complicated than it needs to be, and it doesn't use the AP poll. The USA Today poll is used as part of the BCS formula, but as I said...too complicated to get into.
Many people have thought Michigan is ranked too high at #8, but when you look further down the list, it can go both ways. I could see South Carolina, Arkansas, or Wisconsin ahead of Michigan, but I can also see it the other way. Oddly enough, Michigan also received one first place vote from a beat writer for Illinois, which makes him my hero. The USA Today poll is eerily similar, save for a few first place vote changes and what teams make up the 16th spot and beyond. I can agree with most of it, other than I don't see Florida State holding onto the #7 spot. USC, LSU, and Alabama are going to be the consensus top three in any and every poll. Let's just hope Michigan sneaks up on people and are justified in the #8 slot. The one thing people hate hearing bout their teams in national polls is being overrated. Chart credit goes to ESPN.