The first USA Today poll for 2011 was released today and it seemed to fair well for Big Ten teams. There were 5 teams ranked in the top 25 of the poll:
Wisconsin - #10
Nebraska - #11
Ohio State - #16
Michigan State - #17
Penn State - #25
Teams also receiving votes:
Iowa - #30
Northwestern - #31
Michigan - #34
Also, Notre Dame was ranked #18 so the Big Ten and Notre Dame are clearly ranked pretty well. The SEC ended up with 8 teams and the Big 12 also had 5 teams in the Top 25 poll.
Michigan may not have a ton of love, but these polls are not always extremely accurate and often seem to be based more on last season's performance than predictions for this season. For instance, teams like Michigan State and Wisconsin received much love from USA Today, but most experts predict they will at least take a significant step back. Wisconsin lost Tolzien, who was one of the best quarterbacks in the Big Ten last season and Michigan State lost Greg Jones, who was one of their best defensive players last season, and have a much more difficult schedule than in 2010.
Michigan may not be exactly where the Maize and Blue faithful would like, but the poll seems to imply that we are going to be at least a decent team which leaves plenty of room for improvement.
For the full poll results click the following link: