Ohio State Named Preseason Favorite for 2009 Football Season
July 27, 2009
The Big Ten Conference announced today that Ohio State has been selected as the preseason favorite for the 2009 football season by media members attending the conference’s football media day. Penn State was tabbed to finish second, and Michigan State was third. In addition, the media panel also named Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones the Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Ohio State enters the 2009 season in search of its fifth straight Big Ten title. OSU finished last season with a 10-3 overall mark and tied with Penn State for the conference title with a 7-1 mark during Big Ten play. The Buckeyes are once again led by head coach Jim Tressel, who last season became just the fourth coach in Big Ten history to win five or more titles in his first eight years with a conference institution. Ohio State returns 12 starters from a year ago, including Pryor, the Big Ten’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
Michigan State was tabbed to finish third in 2009 following a 2008 campaign in which the Spartans finished 9-4 overall with a 6-2 mark in conference play. MSU is led by third-year head coach Mark Dantonio, who has guided his team to back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time since 1997. The Spartans return 15 starters from a year ago, including eight on defense, led by Jones, the Big Ten Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
Pryor is set to lead the Buckeyes following a season in which he was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year. The quarterback led the Big Ten with a pass efficiency rating of 151.3 in conference games, making him the first freshman to top the conference in the category since the stat was introduced in 1980. Pryor produced an 8-1 record as a starter and became the first Ohio State true freshman since 1978 to start at quarterback.
The 114th season of Big Ten football kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 3, as Indiana hosts Eastern Kentucky. The conference’s other 10 teams open action on Saturday, Sept. 5.