Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs made his mark on Mount Vernon. Many in town made their mark on him, too. Wirfs and his mother, Sarah, took The Gazette on a tour of his hometown, revisiting scenes around what essentially is the one square mile where he grew up. This story is a little about what can hold you back. This is mostly about what moves you forward.

Iowa Football

Big Ten kinda media days and, why not, the official prediction

Let's do some football before it all goes behind a paywall

Michigan State does a walk-through of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Friday, December 4, 2015 in preparation for Saturday's Big Ten Football Championship against Iowa. The Hawkeyes did not hold a stadium walk-through on Friday. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Michigan State does a walk-through of Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Friday, December 4, 2015 in preparation for Saturday's Big Ten Football Championship against Iowa. The Hawkeyes did not hold a stadium walk-through on Friday. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Big Ten coaches and players will be speaking in Chicago tomorrow. I hesitate to call this “Big Ten media days” anymore.

It used to be. You used to get two hours at a table with a player, someone who’s actually done something for his team, even. It’s not that now. This isn’t a plaintive whine, either. It’s just how the thing has evolved. I don’t care for it, but, shrug, it used to be cool and helpful.

Now, it’s more like “Big Ten some July content for the Big Ten Network” or “hey, we have to have this luncheon, let’s get the media thing over with while we’re at it” event.

Long way of saying, it is what it is. (The luncheon is a supercool fan thing. I highly recommend you hit it at least once.)

If that didn’t fire you up for “Big Ten kinda media days,” I don’t know what will.

Maybe this Big Ten predictions thingie will pique your interest.

Put together by Cleveland.com columnist Doug Lesmerises (who’s covered Ohio State forever), this was a quick survey of 34 voters (including one beat writer from each team, so you got an objective vote or a super homer, the definition of “beat writing” tends to vary in 2019).

Marc, shut up and get to the votes.

OK.

Final results

(Voting for teams went from 7 points for first to 1 point for seventh. This is going to matter, Hawkeye people.)

BIG TEN EAST

1. Michigan, 222 points (20 first-place votes)

2. Ohio State, 214 points (14)

3. Michigan State, 156 points

4. Penn State, 154 points

5. Indiana, 86.5 points

6. Maryland, 82.5 points

7. Rutgers, 37 points

BIG TEN WEST

1. Nebraska, 198 points (14 first-place votes)

2. Iowa, 194.5 points (14)

3. Wisconsin, 172.5 points (4)

4. Northwestern, 142.5 points (1)

5. Purdue, 110.5 points

6. Minnesota, 100 points (1)

7. Illinois, 34 points

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Here were the most popular Big Ten Championship Game predictions:

Michigan over Nebraska (8)

Michigan over Iowa (8)

Ohio State over Iowa (6)

Ohio State over Nebraska (4)

Ohio State over Wisconsin (3)

Nebraska over Michigan (2)

Michigan over Wisconsin (1)

Ohio State over Minnesota (1)

Northwestern over Michigan (1)

Here are some factlets (from Doug):

• Nebraska and Iowa tied for the most first-place votes in the West, but the Cornhuskers prevailed with better down ballot support. Eleven voters picked Nebraska second, while only six picked Iowa second.

• How varied was the West? Nebraska received votes for everything from first to fifth. Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Minnesota received votes for everything from first to sixth. (No, I don’t know who picked Iowa sixth. Yes, I think it was someone from Nebraska. This whole deal has become incredibly immature.)

• The exception? Illinois was a unanimous choice for last. Illinois also received every last-place vote a year ago — and then finished last at 2-7 in conference place.

• In the East, 33 of 34 voters ranked Michigan first or second, while 32 of 34 had Ohio State first or second.

• Michigan State edged Penn State for third place, as the East had a clear top-two, a clear middle-two, a clear bottom-two, and then Rutgers. This is how the East has been viewed in many years in this poll.

• Rutgers, which was 0-9 in conference play last year, was almost a unanimous pick for last. One voter picked Rutgers sixth, and one picked Rutgers fifth. (Hey, you put out a poll, anything can happen. It’s a great, big, beautiful world out there, let’s be open ... never mind. It’s Rutgers.)

PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

(Voting for players was three points for first, two for second and one for third.)

1. Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin RB, 78 points (21 first-place votes)

2. Rondale Moore, Purdue WR, 36 points, (3)

3. Shea Patterson, Michigan QB, 31 points (4)

4. Adrian Martinez, Nebraska QB, 24 points (2)

5. J.K. Dobbins, Ohio State RB, 13 points (3)

5. Justin Fields, Ohio State QB, 13 points (1)

7. Nate Stanley, Iowa QB, 4 points

8. Brian Lewerke, Michigan State QB, 2 points

9. K.J. Hamler, Penn State WR, 1 point

9. Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin OL, 1 point

9. Tristan Wirfs, Iowa OL, 1 point

PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Chase Young, Ohio State DE, 57 points (8 first-place votes)

2. A.J. Epenesa, Iowa DE, 52 points, (9)

3. Kenny Willekes, Michigan State DE, 41 points (10)

4. Paddy Fisher, Northwestern LB, 19 points (2)

5. Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State DE, 16 points, (4)

6. Joe Bachie, Michigan State LB, 6 points (1)

7. Lavert Hill, Michigan CB, 5 points

8. Carter Coughlin, Minnesota DE, 4 points

9. Josh Metellus, Michigan S, 2 points

10. Micah Parsons, Penn State LB, 1 point

10. Joe Gaziano, Northwestern DE, 1 point

Where are your votes, Marc? My dog ate them.

Wait, found them.

Big Ten East

1. Ohio State — If Ryan Day says “bro” a lot, don’t worry. He’ll outgrow it.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

2. Michigan — My favorite part of Big Ten schmedia days is watching Michigan State fan media ask Harbaugh tough questions. It’s like an episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” It’s uncomfortable, it’s funny, it makes me feel sad, but that’s better than feeling nothing, right?

3. Penn State — Everyone went pro last year. But everyone wants James Franklin’s recruiting.

4. Michigan State — Not sure Dantonio’s laser eyes work anymore.

5. Maryland — Their coach is gross. Still.

6. Indiana — Indiana coaches should come labeled like Eastern European villains in any random Liam Neeson movie. This is Indiana coach No. 4, I think.

7. Rutgers — “Better leave this dream alone and try to find another.” Line out of Townes Van Zandt’s “Lungs.”

Big Ten West

1. Iowa — I’ve never picked the Hawkeyes to win the division. This is a little weird for both of us. Iowa has elite line play. Skill positions have questions. You know this.

2. Nebraska — I’m buying into the schedule, Adrian Martinez and Scott Frost’s offense. Maybe in that order.

3. Northwestern — Best coach in the Big Ten. (I can’t fight all of you, you know that, right?)

4. Wisconsin — They do one thing and they do it well. Defense?

5. Purdue — The “coach who was promised” needs to get the defense back to “the defense that could get a meaningful three-and-out in the second half of a meaningful Big Ten game not against Iowa.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

6. Minnesota — Fleck did football things that worked last year. I noticed. Not sure anyone else did.

7. Illinois — Blorp.

My prediction for the Big Ten championship game

Ohio State vs. Iowa. Winner: Ohio State. (I know, I made everyone’s “list.”)

Top three candidates, in order, for Offensive Player of the Year.

1. OSU RB J.K. Dobbins — Someone will benefit from the coaching change.

2. Michigan QB Shea Patterson — The table is set.

3. Iowa QB Nate Stanley — If his completion percentage creeps up, that will bring “Big Ten offensive player of the year” kind of attention.

Top three candidates, in order, for Defensive Player of the Year.

1. Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa — I’ve seen football.

2. Ohio State DE Chase Young — Future Packers draft pick (fingers crossed).

3. Northwestern LB Paddy Fisher — Northwestern’s Josey Jewell, except Fisher is 6-4.

There was a question that said “which Big Ten coach would you pick to lead a team.” That will come later. FWIW, I picked Pat Fitzgerald.

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.