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CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Posted on: September 28, 2009 1:40 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2009 1:44 pm
 

The folks in Madison are getting excited.

That's because Wisconsin is one of three Big Ten teams off to a 4-0 start (Iowa and Michigan being the other) after beating Michigan State 38-30 on Saturday.

The Badgers moved up from No. 41 to No. 31 in the latest CBSSports.com 120, one of the largest jumps of the week.

Garrett Graham scored two touchdowns against Michigan State. (Getty)For a team that was projected to finish fifth or sixth in the conference, the Badgers are enjoying their early season success.

"I'm not worried about rankings," coach Bret Bielema said to the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel. "I'm just worried about getting better ... If it gets us ranked, it gets us ranked. If not, we'll just go on and do our business."

And doing business is exactly what they are doing.

One of the biggest reasons for the team's early success is quarterback Scott Tolzien.

The junior, who never started a game before this season and threw only eight passes in college, is ranked 13th in the nation in passing efficiency. To put it in perspective, Kansas' Todd Reesing is 27th, Texas' Colt McCoy is 29th, Penn State's Daryll Clark is 54th and Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor is 57th.

Tolzien is 66-of-99 for 884 yards with eight touchdowns and only two interceptions. He has spread the ball around too as three players have at least 200 yards receiving.

"I love how smart he is, he's making the right decisions, the right looks and knows when to throw it away when he has too," said offensive lineman Peter Konz. "It's really comforting knowing as an offensive lineman that you're not going to have to go chase anybody down for an interception or he's going to scramble, and you might let up a sack."

Wisconsin is playing close games, but this season is winning them. Three of their four wins have been decided by eight points or less. It opened the season beating Northern Illinois 28-20 and beat Fresno State 34-31 in overtime.

Last year the Badgers lost three key conference games by three points or less.

"This is not the same team from a year ago," Bielema said. "There's more accountability among the players. They've done things differently."

Things get real tough for Wisconsin the next three games as it plays at Minnesota (Oct. 3); at Ohio State (Oct. 10); and Iowa (Oct. 17).

Idaho

The Vandals usually find themselves down in the 100-rankings, but have started the season at 3-1. Idaho jumped up from No. 105 to No. 83 this week after beating Northern Illinois.

Idaho has also beaten New Mexico State and San Diego State. Its only loss was to Washington. If the Vandals can keep it going, it might make grab one of the WAC's bowl bids. Idaho hasn't played in a bowl since 1998, when it beat Southern Miss in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Notes

Four non-BCS teams are ranked in the Top 25 with Boise State leading the way at No. 4. TCU is No. 9, Houston is No. 11 and BYU is No. 23. Utah just missed at No. 29. Central Michigan is 3-1 and at No. 46.

Nevada remains the highest-ranked team without a win, checking in at No. 89. The Wolf Pack has had a tough schedule, losing to Notre Dame, Colorado State and Missouri. Those three teams are combined for a 10-2 record.

Washington fell nine spots after jumping up to No. 36. After beating USC, the Huskies moved from No. 80 to No. 36, but fell back to No. 45 after losing to Stanford.

The lowest-ranked undefeated team is Texas A&M at No. 59. Despite going 3-0, the Aggies have the 118th-rated strength of schedule. They have beaten New Mexico (No. 106 and 0-4), Utah State (No. 114, 1-2) and UAB (No. 112, 1-3).

Comments

Since: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: October 6, 2009 8:02 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

I just want to say Wisconsin beat you to all those cocky Gopher fans but I think finale wiill be Penn State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan, I just think Ohio state wont be able to handle big games



Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: September 30, 2009 6:01 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

I can see 3rd or maybe 4th behind Ohio St., Penn St. and Iowa. Can you name 5 or 6 teams that are possibly better though? I only see 3. Michigan is overrated. Indiana almost Appalachian St.'d them at home. I think they'll finish anywhere from second to 4th. They get Iowa at home so that should make it a little easier than it would be. Looking at the schedule I see 2 losses, Ohio St. and Iowa. They can and probably will beat everyone else.



Since: Jul 15, 2009
Posted on: September 29, 2009 12:26 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

dont get to excited there darst
they still will finish 5th or 6th in the big 10



Since: May 2, 2008
Posted on: September 29, 2009 12:06 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Go Bucky!!!!



Since: Sep 15, 2008
Posted on: September 29, 2009 11:17 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Wisconsin has a good strategy that should work really well in the Big Ten: three yards and a cloud of dust.  The reason that the passing game is going so well is because they have big punishing running backs who set up the play action and tire out the defense.  Wisconsin can also slow the game down a lot just because of their ability to move the ball slowly and effiecently. 



Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 11:06 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Having spent many months working in Madison and many of the smaller Wisconsin communities in the past, I know that there are some great people up there. I hope their team does extremely well this season.



Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 11:05 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Brother. I'm actually a Boise State fan, so I am a little bit prone to like Fresno as well and as long as your team lets these three losses be their only losses, then they will end up in the top 35 by years end. They always seem to keep games close, but they have a hard time winning the close ones and it gets old after awhile. They need to find a way to win. They are good, but we'll see if they win out the rest of their games in the WAC this year. Idaho looks surprisingly good and Hawaii looks better than I thought they would at this years start as well. There is a lot of year left though. Oh yeah. I'm just being honest with you here, so don't get all mad, but the shootout against Boise was a momentum shifting game for a little while for sure, but Fresno lost by 17 points. That's quite a big margin if you're arguing that they could have won that game at any point.



Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 1:57 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

I could see Wisconsin losing to Ohio St. and Iowa but Minnesota? Please show me something before you make that claim and beat them more than 5 times in 20 years. I really wouldn't mind if the Badgers lost to Iowa or Ohio St. because they're better teams but Minnesota isn't better than Wisconsin. If Minnesota wins then they're the better team but until that happens more than 1 out of every 4 games Minnesota can't say they're the better team. They might have more talent, so be it but, and this is sad because Bielema isn't really that good of a coach, but Brewster is one of the worst coaches in the Big Ten, possibly the country.



Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 1:44 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

I like Ryan Matthews but he's not better than Noel Devine or a bunch of other RBs. Seyi is a good WR as is West but you're overrating your team. I love their play anyone, anywhere mentality but they haven't beaten anyone with that mentality. I agree that Fresno State is better than 69th or 70th because they're nowhere near that bad but if they're going to play the big boys they have to beat them. Good luck on the rest of your schedule.



Since: Dec 2, 2007
Posted on: September 29, 2009 1:38 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

I  think you're completely WRONG minicharger!!!  LSU barely beat Washington and Miss State, yet they are #4 in the country and you think that Wisconsin doesn't deserve recognition for their undefeated record?  They definitely should be a top 25 team and Michigan a top 20 team while we're at it.  As for the 3 games mentioned--yeah the Bucks might beat them, but it's up in the air for Minnesota and Iowa.  The Iowa team that beat PSU would beat them with their defense, but Tolzien has performed better at QB than Clarke (I think) for PSU, so it could go either way.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com