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Illinois picked to finish near bottom of West Division in unofficial Big Ten media poll

Cleveland.com's annual media poll was released on Friday morning.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike most other leagues in major college football, the Big Ten Conference doesn't release an annual preseason media poll. Luckily, Cleveland.com's Doug Lesmerises has taken it upon himself to organize an unofficial vote for the past six years, and the 2016 edition was released on Friday morning.

Lovie Smith and the Illinois Fighting Illini have been picked to finish in sixth place in the West Division, ahead of only Purdue. That's obviously not the most optimistic outlook on the season, but it isn't exactly a surprise given the team's depth chart and schedule.

Elsewhere, the poll predicts Ohio State to be the conference champion after a victory over Iowa in the title game. Unlike previous years, though, the Buckeyes were at least challenged for their preseason crown. The Michigan Wolverines took home 14 first place votes in the East Division, and 11 writers picked them as the eventual champion.

Where do you think Illinois will finish in the Big Ten West? Make sure to cast your vote in the below poll question, and let us know what you think in the comments!