Maryland running back Anthony McFarland talks to the media during spring practice in College Park. (Don Markus/Baltimore Sun)
The Maryland football team was picked to finish fifth in the Big Ten Conference’s ultra-competitive East Division, according to a Cleveland.com poll of writers from around the league.
Ohio State, the Big Ten’s reigning champion and a preseason top-five team, was predicted to win the East by 23½ of the 28 voters and the overall league championship by 14 voters. (The Big Ten is the only Power Five conference not to conduct its own preseason vote of media members.)
Behind them in the division were Michigan State (two first-place votes), Penn State (one first-place vote) and Michigan (1½ first-place votes), all of which ESPN ranked in the top 14 nationally in its most recent preseason rankings. Behind the Terps are Indiana and Rutgers.
Wisconsin, which lost to the Buckeyes in last year's Big Ten championship, was the unanimous favorite to win the West Division. Thirteen voters also picked the Badgers, a preseason top-10 team, to win the conference. The Spartans, with one vote, were the only other team predicted to claim the Big Ten title.
Iowa was voted second in the West, followed by Northwestern, Nebraska, Purdue, Minnesota and Illinois. In addition to every East Division opponent, the Terps play the Golden Gophers, Hawkeyes and Fighting Illini this season.
Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa was voted the preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the year, and Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley the preseason Offensive Player of the Year. No Maryland player received a vote in either category, but former commit and current Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins finished fifth in Offensive Player of the Year voting.