Blog Entry 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 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).


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.


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).


Since: Nov 5, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2009 10:37 pm 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Just looking at the final scores does not do the Badgers justice. Against Northern Illinois and MSU Wisconsin looked pretty dominant until the last few minutes. For the Fresno St. game (which is a better win than any Minn has) a signficant portion of the UW team was struck by the dreaded swine flu that week, and while I have no idea if that affected the outcome it is worth mentioning. I have been at each UW game so far and will be in Minn this sat and judging by what I have seen so far this year I think UW should is most likely the better team. I was not real confident about UW before the season but with each game I have gained a little especially after seeing us dominate MSU for 55 min. I wonder if having a new stadium Minnesota will finially have a game with more UM fans than UW fans cause two years ago i was there and it wasnt even close. It should be a good game and im looking forward to it but dont attack UW just because you are jealous minnesota fans.

Here is a joke for you: What do all Wisconsin and Minnesota students have in common??

They all could get into Minnesota.

Since: Sep 28, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2009 10:04 pm 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

The Northern Illinois and Michigan St games scores do not reflect the way the game was played. Both games were decided by the 3rd quarter. It looks like you "just looks at scores and is making an extremely uneducated guess" when you post comments

Since: May 9, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2009 9:10 pm 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Fresno State is a better team and tougher then Minnesota. The Bulldogs I would bet any money would crush the Gophers. I think Northern Illinois and Minnesota are even teams. Wisconsin was winning that game 28-6 over the Huskies. When they played Fresno State the Badgers had a bunch of sick players.  Minnesota is the team that is overrated and with low talent.  My Hoosiers will beat them. Wisconsin will be a tough matchup though. Also, the Badgers except for the last couple of years against Penn State has played respectable against good Big Ten teams. How has Minnesota done? Not Good. With all that a side, I think Wisconsin has more talent but Minnesota will make Saturdays game real tough on them. It will be a tough and good game. Regardless, if Minnesota wins or not they will get crushed by other good Big Ten teams. Playing the Badgers is their Rose Bowl.

Since: Sep 27, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2009 8:02 pm 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 Idaho.

Since: Nov 25, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2009 7:56 pm 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

wow.  sounds like somebody needs to get layed    ...out?

Since: Sep 28, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2009 7:35 pm 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Typical that a few jealous Minnesota fans jump the gun.  This article is about Wisconsin playing better then expectated, thanks in part to the surprisingly good play of QB Scott Tolzien.  I fail to see any mention of Wisconsin contending for the Big Ten title.  Fresno was a quality opponent, that has also played tough at Boise St. and at Cincinnati.  This week's matchup between Minnesota and Wisconsin should be another competitive and entertaining game, that will have nothing to do with any of this year's previous games. 

P.S. Wisconsin has been running a pro-style offense for years.  We just haven't had a reliable QB in a couple of years. 

Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2009 7:22 pm 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Glad ya stopped by 4Eva...dont you have a Blue Chipper that needs help moving into his gated community, also known as Coach Carrols "Habitat for Humanity"? Your program is as crooked as the Wisco winters are long. Most of our fans will take a crappy Badger team over a sleazy USC program anytime.

Bless the Badgers

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2009 7:14 pm 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?

Since: Sep 20, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2009 7:12 pm 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Wisconsin proves ugly wins count if you are Wisconsin( as you point out  N Ill , Wofford ect) .  While USC proves ugly losses do'nt  count if you are USC (still #7 after a loss to Washington)

Since: Sep 10, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2009 7:06 pm 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

oh how great for wisconsin considering how much merit legit the cbs120 is. the fact is that they almost lost to fresno and they almost lost to northern illinois, theyre other two wins came against a deflated 1-2 sparty team and wofford. so im definitly glad that they wrote this article because not many people realize how great wisconsin is.

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