SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers to pick the preseason men’s Big Ten favorite:
Question: Who should be the preseason favorite to win the 2021 Men’s Big Ten title?
- Michigan – 46.4%
- Indiana – 33.1%
- Ohio State – 16.6%
- Someone else – 4.0%
Almost half of voters picked the Michigan men to repeat as Big Ten champions, despite a 146.5-point Indiana margin in returning points.
The men’s Big Ten is one of the more intriguing conference for the coming season, because unlike some conferences with one clear favorite, the Big Ten has three clear standouts. Michigan won last year by more than 200 points, but also graduated a crazy 559 points from its senior class. Michigan does have a great recruiting class, though, and a ton of returning scorers, and voter clearly favored them to win again in 2021.
Ohio State was second in the Big Ten last year, and returns 115 more individual points than Michigan. The bulk of Ohio State’s scoring came from the sophomore and junior classes, who will be juniors and seniors this coming season. But Ohio State did lose almost half of its 20 relay legs – relays don’t factor into conference battles as much as they do into NCAA placement, but they could still come into play in a conference as close as this one.
Indiana was third last year, but just 7.5 points behind Ohio State for second. IU returns the most individual points of any team in the conference – 851 even after removing transfer Kai Bathurst. (Ohio State returns 820 and Michigan 705). But IU also brings back NCAA runner-up miler Michael Brinegar from a redshirt season, along with NCAA champion diver Andrew Capobianco. Their freshman class is led by 51.9-long course flyer Tomer Frankel of Israel.
About a third of voters picked IU. Just 4% of voters picked any team beyond those three. Northwestern and Wisconsin return the next-most points.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters to pick the preseason leaders in the women’s Pac-12:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner