COLLEGE FOOTBALL Michigan first, OSU second in Big Ten preseason picks
Ohio State's A.J. Hawk was the preseason defensive player of the year.
CHICAGO (AP) -- Informed that his team had been chosen as the preseason favorite to win a third consecutive Big Ten football title, Michigan coach Lloyd Carr had this to say Monday to a huge gathering of media, many of whom had voted for the Wolverines.
"I hope as usual you know what you are talking about," Carr said at the conference's annual preseason gathering. "Our goals are high."
Michigan, which has played in back-to-back Rose Bowls, was followed in the preseason balloting by Ohio State and Iowa, which tied for the title a year ago with a 7-1 conference record and has won at least 10 games three seasons in a row.
Iowa quarterback Drew Tate was picked as preseason offensive player of the year and Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk as preseason defensive player of the year.
One team that didn't make the top three was Purdue, even though the Boilermakers return 20 starters and don't have to play Ohio State or Michigan this season.
"We have Ohio State and Michigan right where we want them," Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. "Some years the schedule rolls your way and sometimes it doesn't. There are a lot of other good teams. I don't think you make assumptions about anybody."
New conference coaches Terry Hoeppner of Indiana and Ron Zook of Illinois expressed their excitement at competing in the league. Both will be taking over struggling programs whose teams will be tested greatly in their first seasons.
As Hoeppner and Zook got ready to enter the league, Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez has one more season to pace the sidelines before he leaves. Alvarez announced last week he was stepping down to devote full energy to his job as the Badgers' athletic director and turning over the program to defensive coordinator Bret Bielema.
"The only thing that will change this year is Bret will be in charge of recruiting. ... I don't anticipate any distractions," Alvarez said.
And the biggest change Alvarez has seen as a head coach since he took over a struggling program at Madison in 1990 and turned it into a three-time Rose Bowl winner?
"I think the biggest change is the Internet. ... Now every word uttered by a coach to a recruit is known nationwide in a matter of minutes," he said.
Penn State coach Joe Paterno didn't attend Monday's session because of a personal matter but is scheduled to appear Tuesday. Paterno will be entering his 40th season as head coach and trying to get the Nittany Lions headed back in a winning direction.
One of the most successful programs in college football for years under Paterno, the Nittany Lions have had four losing records in the last five seasons and haven't won a bowl game since 1999.