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The votes are in. And they don't favor Bret Bielema's first Illinois football team.

The Illini have been picked to finish last in the Big Ten West this season by a panel of 34 conference beat writers and national writers. The preseason voting results were compiled by cleveland.com's Nathan Baird and released Wednesday morning.

The panel, which includes Illinois columnist Bob Asmussen, also selected preseason offensive and defensive players of the year.

Illinois compiled a 2-6 record last season under Lovie Smith, picking up its wins in back-to-back weeks against Rutgers and Nebraska. The Illini open their 2021 campaign on Aug. 28 against the Cornhuskers in Memorial Stadium.

The complete results of this vote are below, along with the votes of The News-Gazette's Asmussen.

BIG TEN WEST PROJECTION

1. Wisconsin (29 first-place votes) — 233 points

2. Iowa (5) — 202

3. Northwestern — 160

4. Minnesota — 146

5. Nebraska — 91 1/2

6. Purdue — 72 1/2

7. Illinois — 47

BIG TEN EAST PROJECTION

1. Ohio State (34) — 238

2. Penn State — 192

3. Indiana — 169

4. Michigan — 144

5. Maryland — 79

6. Rutgers — 77 1/2

7. Michigan State — 52 1/2

BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PICKS

— Ohio State over Wisconsin (28)

— Ohio State over Iowa (5)

— Wisconsin over Ohio State (1)

PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State (11) — 58

2. Michael Penix Jr., QB, Indiana (8) — 44 1/2

3. Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota (4) — 36

4. Tyler Linderbaum, C, Iowa (1) — 13

5. Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State (1) — 12

6. David Bell, WR, Purdue (1) — 10

(tie) 7. C.J. Stroud, QB, Penn State (2) — 6

(tie) 7. Jahan Dotson, WR, Penn State (1) — 6

(tie) 7. Graham Mertz, QB, Wisconsin (1) — 6

10. Tyler Goodson, RB, Iowa (1) — 5

11. Ty Fryfogle, WR, Indiana (1) — 4

12. Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota (1) — 3 1/2

PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Brandon Joseph, S, Northwestern (11) — 49

2. George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue (8) — 33

3. Haskell Garrett, DT, Ohio State (5) — 30 1/2

4. Micah McFadden, LB, Indiana (6) — 28

5. Olakunle Fatukasi, LB, Rutgers (3) — 18

6. Aidan Hutchinson, DE, Michigan — 11

(tie) 7. Jack Sanborn, LB, Wisconsin — 7

(tie) 7. Tiawan Mullen, CB, Indiana (1) — 7

9. Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State — 3 1/2

(tie) 10. Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State — 3

(tie) 10. Sevyn Banks, CB, Ohio State — 3

(tie) 12. Boye Mafe, DE, Minnesota — 2

(tie) 12. Chris Bergin, LB, Northwestern — 2

(tie) 12. Cam Taylor-Britt, CB, Nebraska — 2

(tie) 12. Jake Hansen, LB, Illinois — 2

(tie) 16. JoJo Domann, S/LB, Nebraska — 1

(tie) 16. Tyshon Fogg, LB, Rutgers — 1

(tie) 16. Owen Carney Jr., OLB, Illinois — 1

ASMUSSEN'S VOTES

BIG TEN EAST PROJECTION

1. Ohio State

2. Indiana

3. Penn State

4. Michigan

5. Maryland

6. Michigan State

7. Rutgers

BIG TEN WEST PROJECTION

1. Wisconsin

2. Iowa

3. Northwestern

4. Minnesota

5. Nebraska

6. Illinois

7. Purdue

BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP GAME PICK

— Ohio State over Wisconsin

PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Michael Penix, Indiana

2. Mohamed Ibrahim, Minnesota

3. Chris Olave, Ohio State

PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

1. Brandon Joseph, Northwestern

2. Micah McFadden. Indiana

3. Olakunle Fatukasi, Rutgers

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at clikas@news-gazette.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.

College/Prep Sports Reporter

Colin Likas covers Illinois football and high school sports at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).

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