Nebraska Tops Traditional Big Ten Powers in AP Poll

| by Alex Groberman

The Nebraska Cornhuskers don’t need time to adjust, they’re already perfectly comfortable in their new Big Ten digs.

The AP preseason poll was released on Saturday and, as expected, Nebraska leads their conference pack coming in at No. 10. Despite their undeniably tough schedule this coming season, there was enough confidence in the team’s talent top to bottom for voting members to rank them a mere two spots below where they landed last year.

Wisconsin came in at No. 11 despite losing Scott Tolzien, cementing the notion that most have about them finding a real stud in transferred quarterback, Russell Wilson. The Michigan State Spartans earned the No. 17 slot by virtue of their many returning stars, and the Ohio State Buckeyes dropped to No. 18 this year – their lowest AP ranking since 2001.

The Penn State Nittany Lions just missed the list coming in at No. 27.

Although the Big Ten had more teams in the top 25 than the Pac-12 (three), ACC (two), Mountain West (two) and Big East (one), they had less than the SEC (eight), and the same amount as the Big 12.

Generally, preseason polls are almost entirely worthless and rarely end up holding any real weight by season’s end. If Nebraska can find a way to stay consistently strong through the first half of their schedule, expect the polls to reflect the on-the-field results.

Interestingly enough, this Top 25 also reflects the power shift that has been a work in progress over the last few years. The Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State used to be the crème de la crème of the Big Ten, no question about it. Now, however, it appears as though the changing of the guard is officially complete with newcomer Nebraska sitting atop the conference followed immediately by Wisconsin and slightly further along by Michigan State.

Buckle in, Big Ten fans – 2011 will be an interesting ride.