The Buckeyes also took home both individual honors as well. The voting members of the media also honored Ohio State running back Chris ?Beanie? Wells as the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year while teammate and linebacker James Laurinaitis was tabbed Preseason Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
Ohio State enters the 2008 campaign aiming for a fourth straight Big Ten title and looking to become the first team in conference annals to win three straight outright crowns. The Buckeyes were 11-2 overall and 7-1 in conference play last season under head coach Jim Tressel, who became the first Ohio State coach to win four Big Ten titles in his first seven years on campus. With a conference-best 20 starters returning this year, the Buckeyes will look to capture their 33rd conference title.
Wisconsin was selected second in the preseason poll after finishing fourth last year. The Badgers went 5-3 in conference play and 9-4 overall under Bret Bielema, who is entering his third year. Wisconsin returns 17 starters this season, including tight end Travis Beckum, a 2007 first-team Walter Camp All-American.
Fresh off its first Rose Bowl appearance since 1984, Illinois was tabbed to finish third in 2008. The Illini ended the 2007 campaign tied for second in the conference with a 9-4 record overall and 6-2 in Big Ten games. Illinois returns 13 starters under the direction of 2007 Liberty Mutual National and Dave McClain Big Ten Coach of the Year Ron Zook.
The 113th season of Big Ten football kicks off Saturday, Aug. 30th with 10 teams in nationally televised action, broadcast either on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or the Big Ten Network.