Michigan is the Big Ten football favorite in the preseason.
The Wolverines, already picked to win the league by multiple publications, topped a writers poll conducted by cleveland.com and published Wednesday, one day before league coaches and media convene in Chicago for the annual football media days.
Jim Harbaugh’s team edged Ohio State as the favorite, getting 17 votes to the Buckeyes’ 14.
Twenty voters picked Michigan to win the Big Ten East while 14 tabbed Ohio State.
In the West, Nebraska and Iowa both received 14 first-place votes while Wisconsin got four. Northwestern and Minnesota also showed up No. 1 on one ballot, leaving Purdue and Illinois as the only West teams not to be chosen by anyone to win the division.
Ohio State is the two-time defending league champion while Michigan is in the midst of the longest Big Ten title drought in program history.
The Wolverines last won the conference in 2004, a shared title with Iowa.
Michigan was on the verge of making its first Big Ten Championship Game last season before being blown out by Ohio State in the 115th edition of The Game.
That sent the Buckeyes to the title game instead, where they beat Northwestern to earn a Rose Bowl bid.
The Big Ten stopped putting together an official preseason poll and naming preseason award favorites nearly a decade ago, resulting in cleveland.com conducting its own version.
Ohio State was the preseason favorite the past four seasons while Michigan was last picked to win the league in this poll in 2012.
The Big Ten still conducts preseason polls in other sports, including basketball.
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