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: Oct 21, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2009 6:50 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Northern Illinois and Fresno are good teams.
N.Illinois beat Purdue
Fresno was close to being ranked in beginnig of season but has had a tough start of schedule
And Wisconsin was kiling Michigan State. State scored 2 TDS in last 3 minutes otherwise it wouldnt be close.



Since: Sep 17, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2009 6:22 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Wisconsin has fallen back to the middle of the big ten under Bret Bielema and only started 17-1 because he had Barry Alvarez's players and if he was still their coach, I wouldn't be posting this

Hey, I'd rather fall to the middle than be consistently at the bottom. You remember what Paul Bunyan's Axe looks like?

Should be a good game next week in the new stadium. Go Badgers!



Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2009 6:21 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

I'm a fan of the badgers always have been cuz im from WI.  Bigger fan of Tex always have been to.  So this isnt biased.  Wisconsin looks terrible.  How they are getting looked at is beyond me.  They have had close games between multiple terrible teams.  Including a double overtime.  These are teams taht a top 25 team should be smashing by at least 20.  Wisconsin keeps it close.  If they win a close game against a good team then they should be recognized but until then it doesnt make sense.



Since: Jan 12, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2009 5:25 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Maybe when Minnesota is no longer Wisconsin's whipping boy then the Gopher fans can talk.

that will be this saturday, mark your calendar



Since: Jun 13, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2009 5:09 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

They havent played anyone!!!! Their best win is against Michigan State, who is 1-3 and lost to a MAC team.



Since: Jan 25, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2009 5:08 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Maybe when Minnesota is no longer Wisconsin's whipping boy then the Gopher fans can talk.



Since: Jan 12, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2009 5:06 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

This season? I just started following it this week. Boise State is my No. 1 ranked team. haha i knew it



Since: Jan 26, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2009 4:59 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

Just keep thinking that and watch as Bucky carry the axe back to Madison.  I will grant you that California was better than any NC opponent on the Badgers schedule.  But lets compare Northern Illinois(84) to Syracuse(82), Fresno State(69) to Air Force(57), Wofford to South Dakota State.  Lets see those Syracuse was a 3 pt win in OT, Air Force 7 points and we will wait to see about SDSU. So, while the Gophers had a top 25 team on that schedule the rest of the game are just as bad as the Badgers.

This game will be like another home game for the Badgers because it will half Badger fans there.  The Badgers have a better all-around offense and the defenses are just about equal.  This will be a 35-17 win for the Badgers. 




Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2009 4:28 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

whoever wrote this must have started paying attention to football this year, just looks at scores and is making an extremely uneducated guess as to a surprise sleeper in the big ten seasonThis season? I just started following it this week. Boise State is my No. 1 ranked team.



Since: Oct 30, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2009 4:11 pm
 

CBSSports.com 120 -- Wisconsin moving up

We shall see what happens this weekend in Minneapolis. Minnesota barely escaped a terrible Syracuse team in overtime.  It will be a joy to see the Badgers bless the new TCF Bank Stadium with a win.


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