Big Ten football media poll: Iowa picked second to Wisconsin in West Division

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Since the implementation of the divisional format in the Big Ten Conference in 2011, Iowa has finished second on its side four times … including last season. That’s where the Hawkeyes are predicted to wind up again in the West Division this fall, according to a media panel of 34 sportswriters that cover the league.

Iowa received five first-place votes but was predicted to finish runner-up in the West to Wisconsin, which received the other 29, in the annual poll that was released Wednesday morning. The Badgers or Hawkeyes were predicted by 33 of 34 panelists to lose to Big Ten East winner Ohio State in the league championship game Dec. 4 in Indianapolis. One voter picked the Badgers over the Buckeyes.

Iowa linebacker Seth Benson hits Wisconsin running back Nakia Watson during the Hawkeyes' 28-7 season-finale win over the Badgers in 2020.

Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave was voted the preseason offensive player of the year, and Northwestern safety Brandon Joseph was pegged as defensive player of the year. Iowa had two players receive votes in center Tyler Linderbuam (who was fourth in the offensive voting) and running back Tyler Goodson (who was 10th).

Iowa and Wisconsin are scheduled to meet Oct. 30 in an 11 a.m. kickoff in Madison. The Hawkeyes snapped a four-game series losing streak last fall, beating the Badgers 28-7 on Dec. 12 at Kinnick Stadium. Panelists had a wide range of opinion on the Hawkeyes, with votes cast for them to finish anywhere between first and fifth. Iowa has won its division one time, in 2015, with the four runner-up finishes coming in 2013, 2016, 2018 and 2020.

More on Iowa football:

The Big Ten’s media days kick off Thursday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Iowa’s sessions will take place Friday, with head coach Kirk Ferentz and three players — Linderbaum, receiver Tyrone Tracy Jr. and defensive end Zach VanValkenburg — in attendance.

Iowa's season opener is a 2:30 p.m. home date on Sept. 4 against Indiana, which was picked third in the Big Ten East.

Voting results


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

2. Iowa (5 first-place votes) 202 points

3. Northwestern 160

4. Minnesota 146

5. Nebraska 91.5

6. Purdue 72.5

7. Illinois 47


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


Ohio State over Wisconsin (28)

Ohio State over Iowa (5)

Wisconsin over Ohio State (1)

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR — WR Chris Olave, Ohio State (11 first-place votes)

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR — S Brandon Joseph, Northwestern (11 first-place votes)