Wisconsin football will start their season against the Fighting Illini as the 14th-ranked team in the country.
Despite not playing a game in the season, the Wisconsin football team is in the top 25 of the AP poll. They will open this Friday against Illinois as the 14th-ranked team in the country. They are tied with North Carolina, who dropped nine spots after their disappointing loss to Florida State.
The Badgers initially started the season ranked 12th in the AP poll, even though at the time they weren’t expected to play this fall. Not playing any game yet this season really hasn’t affected their ranking yet. You’d think teams who have been playing games would get the benefit over teams who haven’t, but the Badgers have been benefited by the way this season has played out.
A lot of the teams that started out ahead of them have lost multiple games. LSU has really struggled this year. They started the season ranked 6th, even getting a first-place vote. They are now unranked after losing games to Mississippi State and Missouri.
Oklahoma has also underperformed this season. They started the season ranked 5th, but are also unranked, sitting at 2-2, with a pair of losses to Kansas State and Iowa State.
Having a favorable schedule, Wisconsin football should be able to move up the rankings. In my season predictions, I had the Badgers going undefeated. That was with Jack Coan still leading the team. Now, with Graham Mertz, it will be a little hard to predict how they do. We knew what we had in Coan. Mertz could end up being even better, but as a freshman who has yet to start a collegiate game or play in non-garbage time, he could struggle a bit too.
The Michigan game and Iowa game are the two games that scare me the most. The matchup with Iowa isn’t until the end of the season, so if the Badgers can beat Michigan, this Wisconsin football team could find themselves pretty high in the rankings. If that were the case and they run the table, I don’t think it’s out of the question to say Wisconsin could be ranked a top-5 team in the country, especially after Alabama just beat Georgia.
There is a lot to look forward to this year, and it all gets started this Friday against Illinois. Make sure you follow Badger of Honor all season for more Wisconsin football news and analysis!