Blog Entry

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: Apr 26, 2007
Posted on: September 29, 2009 1:23 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

I seriously have a problem with the Sportsline 120 - Its a complete joke.  How the hell is Fresno State 69 in the nation? They played Wisconsin ("moving up") to overtime, they played Boise in a shoot-out (which could have gone either way) and lost to Cincy, the best team in the Big East and a Top 10 Team, by one touchdown, and could have easily won. Fresno is by far a top 35 team and nothing less. They have a solid QB (who is prone to make the occasional mistake), the best RB in the nation and great pair of WRs in Seyi and Chastin West. 

I know I sound like a serious homer but I could care less what a bunch of big school, in the top 10 out the next week, upset-looming, already exposed, still no clear champion, no-life blogging all day (mostly in the arm-pits of america - i.e. - Midwest and South, fans say.  Fresno way better than the 69th or 70th team in the nation.



Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 1:19 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Murk, check just how lopsided it is over the last 20 years.



Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: September 29, 2009 1:18 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Ok, here is my take on things. I am an unabashed Gopher fan, but I think my opinion is pretty objective.  Both teams have gotten off to good starts, which makes adds to the anticipation of this matchup. 

As for the Gophers, they had a rough time with Syracuse, but got some key plays in crunch time to pull out a win on the road.  Syracuse beat a Northwestern team that many thought would finish in the middle of the pack with Wisconsin and Minnesota and they didn't get completely blown out at Penn St (28-7), so I think that close game isn't as bad as many people think.  Secondly, Air Force is a quality team.  Not top-tier BCS by any stretch, but no pushover either, so no real impressions either way there.  The California, while a loss, showed that the Gophers can play with top-tier teams, but they don't have the talent/killer instinct to finish off a game like that.  Then Northwester, any Big Ten road win is a good win, plain and simple.  Northwestern looks as if they are not as good as expected, but a road win is a road win.

As for the Badgers, the Northern Illinois game was not as close as the score indicated. A late touchdown and an onsides recovery made it interesting though.  Northern Illinois lost to Idaho this past week, so I would say that win is a no impression win too. A game Wisconsin should have won, and they did.  Fresno State was the toughest game so far for the Badgers, both with the opponent and the flu.  Impressive win no doubt coming back from the early deficit. Quality win through and through.  Wofford...it's Wofford. Enough said.  Michigan State was a dominant performance for the most part. The only part that would worry me if I were a Badger fan is that they, like Northern Illinois, scored late.  I did not see how MSU scored late, but I would want to see them close out games more definitively if I were a Badger fan. 

I think overall the schedules have played out just as they should and the records reflect that.  I think a potential factor in this game is that the Badgers have not left the friendly confines of Camp Randall.  Tolzien's performance on the road will be key.  There will be a fair number of Badger fans at the game this weekend, but nothing like the Metrodome.  Unless Badger fans purchased season tickets for this game only or scoop up every single one of the overpriced scalper tickets it will be a pretty clearly partisan Gopher crowd...at least I hope for my sake :)

As with all close games I think it comes down to execution.  Tolzien vs. Weber, Decker vs. Badger DB's, Toon vs. Sherels/Simmons, Gophers speedy front 7 vs. Wisconsin's massive O-line, etc.  I think if the Gophers, especially Weber, can avoid turnovers and the defense can get some pressure on Tolzien the Gophers stand a good chance of winning with what should be an electric crowd.  Overall, I think the Gophers have to play better than they have to win, but I also think this is Wisconsin's biggest test too because it's on the road.  I will probably get disagreed with quite a bit for this prediction, but I think the Gophers find a way to win, 27-24.  Either way I hope it's a good game and good luck to both teams, it should be fun. 



Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 1:11 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

I bet you've said that every year for this game for about the last 20 years. 25% success rate with those guesses. 5 of 20. I think you should try a different game as far as guessing Minnesota is going to win. T



Since: Mar 11, 2007
Posted on: September 29, 2009 1:08 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

dude you shouldnt even talk. first off fresno, northern illinois, and michigan state are not bad teams. second, the n.illinois and mich state games were pretty much blow outs. we gave up two late, late td's in both of those games that made the score closer than it actually was. third of all, you're a gopher fan. also, wisconsin will handle minnesota. thats right. you may have decker, but UW is way more talented and deep at the wr, te, rb, ol, and has a better qb. also dont be foolod by the 30 pts given up last week, cuz over 220yds and 13 points were given up in prevent D the last couple minutes of the game. also, congrats minn. you played an average cal team at home...and lost. i'd take fresno over cal anyday. congradulations minnesota, you've beaten wisconsin 1 of the last 8 times you've played them. that really gives you reason to smack talk... 



Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 1:04 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Are you SERIOUSLY calling the Minnesota game a loss for Wisconsin? Minnesota has beaten Wisconsin like 3 teams in the last 20 years and they've obviously played every year for the AXE. Brewster is not a good coach, above average recruiter but I compare him more to Zook. He can bring in the talent but has no idea what to do with it and Brandon Green proves my point. I can see the Badgers losing to Iowa and Ohio St. but Minnesota? please win more than 3 games in 20 years before you call the game a loss. I can't see it happening until it happens. If it happens this year so be it but don't act like the Minnesota game is a gimme for the Goofs until they actually win the AXE.



Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 12:32 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Whoever wrote this a WI homer. wait two weeks and see what they do against Iowa's D. He should have wrote a big story about IdahoLMAO!

I've been called a lot things, but NEVER a Wisconsin homer. I've never even BEEN to the state of Wisconsin and I don't even like cheese!

And if I wrote about Idaho, somebody would call me a Idaho-lover and a Mountain West-hater or something dumb like that.



Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2009 12:25 am
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Darst?  What was that?  I don't see you respond to to many of the hecklers.  However, this one didn't even seem worth a response.  There have been some in the past I guessed you would kick some teeth in if possible and yet you sat on them.  What is the method to your responsiveness?  Whim or calculated?

Randomness Laughing

I couldn't let that one go to say I don't watch college football. Nowhere in the article do I say Wisconsin is a great team or will win the Big Ten. I just found it interesting this week that they are 4-0, beat Michigan State and are doing it with a quarterback that never started a game before this season.

Wisconsin-haters. LMAO



Since: Mar 2, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2009 11:29 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

For the record, when they played Fresno State, 40 players were suffering from the flu...and they came from 2 TDs back and won.

Some stats...When Tolzien throws on 3rd down, his 3rd down passing efficiency is in the 180s!! It is through the roof. An amazing stat.
Meanwhile, 2 weeks ago, backup QB Phillips had 92 yards...on just 4 carries!

The Badgers lead the Big 10 in turnovers forced and are tied with Iowa for first in turnover margin.

They probably have the best pair of Tight Ends in college football. 

Both the NI and MSU games were well in hand. Wisconsin's biggest flaw is taking the foot off the pedal at the end of games. And costly penalties.

I look forward to the Badgers mopping up the Gophers this Saturday.



Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2009 10:38 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

I'm just glad you gave Idaho some props. They look so much better this year. They just beat NI in Illinois. That's pretty dang cool actually. I don't think Boise State is the #1 team, but I do think they are #4 for sure. Tell your boys at CBS to get USC the heck out though brother! Please.



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