The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Men’s gymnastics

Jack Boyle performs on the rings inside Carver Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. Iowa defeated UIC in their home opener 428.600 to 398.600. (The Daily Iowan/Sergio Flores)

The Big Ten is stacked. The Hawkeyes are a top-20 team, and they fall at No. 6 in these rankings. That makes for a wild ride towards the conference championship.

1. Ohio State

The Buckeyes have won back-to-back Big Ten championships, and observers predict they will win a third-straight title. Returnees to the roster include 2016 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year Sean Melton and 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Alec Yoder.

2. Illinois

The Illini were picked third in the preseason poll after finishing second at the Big Ten Championships last spring. This is the fourth-straight time they have been predicted for a third-place finish. At their season-opener, the Windy City Invitational, they took first for the third-straight time. Illinois could be inching closer to a Big Ten Championship run; watch out, Buckeyes.

3. Minnesota

After finishing sixth in the nation last season, the Gophers are pumped and ready to push for more. Zach Liebler has been named a finalist for the Male Athlete of the Year in the Rochester Area Sports Banquet and was named to the Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch list.

4. Penn State

The Nittany Lions are ranked sixth in the College Gymnastics Association rankings. In the 26th-annual West Point Open, Penn State took the title home for the fourth-consecutive year. Freshman Favian Valdez was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week after notching three second-place finishes at West Point.

5. Nebraska

The Cornhuskers are ranked ninth nationally, but expect them to move up. Nebraska has a deep roster that has a lot of experience. If you look at its schedule, it will compete against some of the best teams in the nation.

6. Iowa

Iowa is on its way up. Last season was the second season in a row that Iowa qualified for team finals at the NCAA championships and the Big Ten championship. This preseason, the team was ranked sixth and seventh in the College Gymnastics Association Preseason Coaches Poll. The Hawkeyes will have four seniors return this season, but the majority of the roster consists of freshmen and sophomores.

7. Michigan

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