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The University of Wisconsin football team will bounce back after a disappointing 2020 season, according to media members who cover the Big Ten Conference.

Of the 34 reporters to vote in the preseason Big Ten poll, 29 picked the Badgers to win the Big Ten West and to reach the conference championship game. However, 28 of those 29 voters believe UW will lose that league title game to Ohio State.

The preseason poll asked voters to rank the teams in each division and pick the conference title winner, and to vote on the top offensive and defensive players in the league.

Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave was the top offensive vote-getter, with 11 first-place votes. Olave had 729 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in seven games last season. Twelve players received a first-place vote, including Badgers redshirt sophomore quarterback Graham Mertz. Mertz tied for seventh place in the poll.

Northwestern redshirt sophomore safety Brandon Joseph was tabbed the league’s top defensive player entering the season, earning 11 first-place votes. Joseph had six interceptions and eight passes defended last year and helped the Wildcats win the West division. UW senior linebacker Jack Sanborn — who will be one of the Badgers’ representatives at Big Ten Media Days in Indianapolis this week — tied for seventh in the defensive player poll.

The results of the coach of the year poll will be announced Thursday.

Here are the full results of the poll:

Big Ten West

1. Wisconsin (29 first-place votes) 233 points

2. Iowa (5) 202

3. Northwestern 160

4. Gophers 146

5. Nebraska 91.5

6. Purdue 72.5

7. Illinois 47

Big Ten East

1. Ohio State (34 first-place votes) 238

2. Penn State 192

3. Indiana 169

4. Michigan 144

5. Maryland 79

6. Rutgers 77.5

7. Michigan State 52.5

Big Ten Championship Game

Ohio State over Wisconsin (28)

Ohio State over Iowa (5)

Wisconsin over Ohio State (1)

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year

1. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State (11 first-place votes) 58 points

2. Michael Penix Jr., QB, Indiana (8) 44.5

3. Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Gophers (4) 36

4. Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa (1) 13

5. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State (1) 12

6. David Bell, WR, Purdue (1) 10

7 (tie). C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State (2) 6

7 (tie). Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State (1) 6

7 (tie). Graham Mertz, QB, Wisconsin (1) 6

10. Tyler Goodson, RB, Iowa (1) 5

11. Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana (1) 4

12. Tanner Morgan, QB, Gophers (1) 3.5

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year

1. Brandon Joseph, S, Northwestern (11 first-place votes) 49 points

2. George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue (8) 33

3. Haskell Garrett, DT, Ohio State (5) 30.5

4. Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana (6) 28

5. Olakunle Fatukasi, LB, Rutgers (3) 18

6. Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan 11

7 (tie). Jack Sanborn, LB, Wisconsin 7

7 (tie). Tiawan Mullen, CB, Indiana (1) 7

9. Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State 3.5

10 (tie). Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State 3

10 (tie). Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio State 3

12 (tie). Boye Mafe, DE, Gophers 2

12 (tie). Chris Bergin, LB, Northwestern 2

12 (tie). Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska 2

12 (tie). Jake Hansen, LB, Illinois 2

16 (tie). JoJo Domann, S/LB, Nebraska 1

16 (tie). Tyshon Fogg, LB, Rutgers 1

16 (tie). Owen Carney, LB, Illinois 1

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