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Michigan favored in Big Ten

CHICAGO -- Michigan was picked Thursday by sports reporters as most likely to win the Big Ten Conference championship.

Ohio State and Michigan State were ranked two and three in a pre-season conference football poll by media members, who met with coaches and players.

''I tell the players that opinions disappear and records endure,'' said Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr of his team's ranking. ''The expectations for Michigan from people inside and outside the program are extremely high.''

Michigan finished second in the Big Ten last season, behind Illinois. Ohio State finished last season third in the conference at 5-3, while Michigan State compiled a 3-5 record.

''It's great to be recognized but pre-season picks won't win you any football games,'' said Spartans head coach Bobby Williams.

Michigan State junior wide receiver Charles Rogers was named pre-season offensive player of the year, while Ohio State senior strong safety Mike Doss earned defensive honors.

Rogers broke every single-season Michigan State receiving record last season. His 1,470 receiving yards marked the second-highest total in Big Ten history. Doss has led the Buckeyes in tackles for the past two seasons and is a two-time All-Big Ten honoree.

The conference announced Thursday an agreement with National College Sports Network (NCSN), cable television's first 24-hour, all-college sports network. The network will cover a variety of men's and women's Big Ten athletics, including golf, gymnastics, track and field, swimming and diving, tennis, soccer and cross-country. The Associated Press