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August 2, 2010CHICAGO - There have been a lot of changes in the Big Ten during the off-season, but preseason selections for the Big Ten favorites and conference players of the year stayed the same.
For the second consecutive year Ohio State was selected to win the conference and Buckeye quarterback Terrelle Pryor was chosen as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.
On the defensive side of the ball it was Michigan State's Greg Jones that was selected as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, his second consecutive year with the honor as well.
With the selections of Pryor and Jones, it marks the first time since 1998 where both preseason players of the year repeated from the year before. Jones is the first preseason Defensive Player of the Year to get it in back-to-back years since Ohio State's James Laurinaitis was named it in 2007 and 2008.
Pryor is the first player to repeat as Preseason Offensive Player of the Year since Wisconsin's Ron Dayne did it in 1997, 1998, and 1999.
Last season Pryor led Ohio State to another Big Ten Championship and his second BCS bowl game in as many years. In his sophomore season Pryor led the Buckeyes to their first Rose Bowl win since 1997.
Statistically Pryor had a solid year, completing 167-of-295 passes for just under 2,100 yards and 18 touchdowns. Though Pryor has only played two years he already ranks 11th on Ohio State's all-time list of total offensive yards with 4,808.
The Buckeyes are tabbed to win the Big Ten yet again after winning or sharing a piece of the last six conference titles. Winning it this season would match the six consecutive conference titles record set by Ohio State from 1972-1977.
Iowa was tabbed to finish second in the conference after posting a 6-2 mark last year before winning beating Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl. This season coach Kirk Ferentz welcomes back 16 starters, including standout defenders Adrian Clayborn and Tyler Sash.
Wisconsin, who is receiving some preseason love, is picked to finish third in the conference. Backed by defending Offensive Player of the Year John Clay, the Badgers are coming into this season strong after a 20-14 win over Miami (Fla.) in thbe Champs Sports Bowl.
This year's Big Ten season will kick off on Sept. 2 with Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio State starting their seasons on a Thursday. The other games of the conference will start on Saturday Sept. 4.